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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability:


Considerations
for
Policy





Yamini
Aiyar*

Bala
Posani

Abhijit
Patnaik


Mandakini
Devasher


*info@accountabilityindia.org



AI
Policy
Paper
2,
October
2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


ACCOUNTABLE
GOVERNMENT:


ACCOUNTABILITY
INITIATIVE
POLICY
RESEARCH
SERIES






Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability:


Considerations
for
Policy*




Yamini
Aiyar

Bala
Posani


Abhijit
Patnaik

Mandakini
Devasher









*The
views
and
opinions
expressed
in
this
document
are
entirely
those
of
the

authors.
You
may
choose
to
reproduce
or
redistribute
the
contents
in
part
or
in

full
to
any
other
person
with
due
acknowledgement
of
the
Accountability

Initiative.



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Table
of
Contents


Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..4


Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………5


Assessing
accountability
failures
in
Education
&
Health
‐
NAIR
Survey
……………14


Towards
a
framework
for
social
accountability
–
1:


Getting
the
compact
right……………………………………………………………………………….31


Towards
a
framework
for
social
accountability
–
2:


Strengthening
Citizen
Voice…..…………………………………………………………………….….45


Social
Accountability
Initiatives:
Challenges
and
Vulnerabilities……….…………...…56


Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability:
some
policy
considerations
to
overcome

the
challenges
and
vulnerabilities
……………………………………………………………..……58


Appendices


Appendix
1:
Social
Accountability
Tools
………………………………………………………..…….62


Appendix
2:
Research
Methodology
of
NIAR
Study
………………………………………………72














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Institutionalizing
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Abstract


Social
 accountability
 mechanisms
 can
 contribute
 to
 improved
 governance,

increased
development
effectiveness
through
better
service
delivery,
and
citizen

empowerment.
 However,
 critical
 to
 the
 success
 of
 Social
 Accountability

initiatives
is
civil
society
and
state
capacities,
and
the
synergy
between
the
two.


Ultimately,
 the
 effectiveness
 and
 sustainability
 of
 social
 accountability

mechanisms
 is
 improved
 when
 they
 are
 “institutionalized”.
 This
 involves
 two

things:
 first,
 the
 state
 as
 a
 ‘willing
 accomplice’
 in
 the
 broader
 accountability

project,
 needs
 to
 render
 its
 own
 “internal”
 mechanisms
 in
 a
 way
 that
 makes
 it

structurally
 amenable
 to
 accountability,
 and
 second,
 the
 state
 needs
 to
 identify

and
adopt
mechanisms
to
facilitate
and
strengthen
civic
engagement
and
citizen

voice.
 In
 developing
 a
 framework
 for
 institutionalizing
 social
 accountability,

therefore,
this
paper
would
stress
on
these
two
aspects.
The
empirical
base
for

the
policy
recommendations
in
this
paper
is
the
study
conducted
by
the
National

Institute
 of
 Administrative
 Research,
 Mussorie,
 which
 employed
 social

accountability
 tools
 to
 understand
 the
 accountability
 failures
 in
 two
 of
 the

flagship
 programs
 of
 the
 current
 government,
 namely
 Sarva
 Shiksha
 Abhiyan

(SSA)
and
the
National
Rural
Health
Mission
(NRHM).















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1:
Introduction


Social
 accountability
 has
 been
 defined
 as
 an
 approach
 towards
 ensuring

accountability
that
relies
on
civic
engagement,
i.e.,
in
which
ordinary
citizens
and

citizen
 groups
 participate
 directly
 or
 indirectly
 in
 exacting
 accountability1.
 In
 a

public
sector
context,
social
accountability
refers
to
a
wide
range
of
actions
and

mechanisms
 that
 citizens,
 communities,
 independent
 media
 and
 civil
 society

organizations
can
use
to
hold
public
officials
accountable.
Evidence
from
around

the
 world
 suggests
 that
 social
 accountability
 mechanisms
 can
 contribute
 to

improved
 governance,
 increased
 development
 effectiveness
 through
 better

service
delivery,
and
citizen
empowerment.



However,
critical
to
the
success
of
Social
Accountability
initiatives
is
civil
society

and
 state
 capacities,
 and
 the
 synergy
 between
 the
 two.
 
 Ultimately,
 the

effectiveness
and
sustainability
of
social
accountability
mechanisms
is
improved

when
 they
 are
 “institutionalized”.
 This
 involves
 two
 things:
 first,
 the
 state
 as
 a

‘willing
 accomplice’
 in
 the
 broader
 accountability
 project,
 needs
 to
 render
 its

own
 “internal”
 mechanisms
 in
 a
 way
 that
 makes
 it
 structurally
 amenable
 to

accountability,
and
second,
the
state
needs
to
identify
and
adopt
mechanisms
to

facilitate
 and
 strengthen
 civic
 engagement
 and
 citizen
 voice.
 In
 developing
 a

generic
 framework
 for
 social
 accountability,
 therefore,
 this
 paper
 would
 stress

on
these
two
aspects.


The
paper
progresses
as
follows:


In
the
rest
of
this
chapter
we
work
towards
laying
out
a
generic
framework
for

Social
Accountability.
We
start
with
defining
accountability
and
situating
public

accountability
 in
 the
 social
 contract
 that
 citizens
 share
 with
 the
 state.
 We
 then

use
the
conceptual
framework
for
public
accountability
formulated
in
the
World

Development
 Report
 20042
 to
 discuss
 the
 components
 of
 public
 accountability



























































1
Malena
et.
al,
2004,
‘Social
Accountability:
An
introduction
to
the
concept
and
emerging
practice’,
Social

Development
Papers:
Participation
and
Civic
Engagement,
World
Bank:
Washington
DC


2
World
Bank,
2003,
World
Development
Report
2004:
Making
Services
Work
for
Poor
People,
New
York:
OUP



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


i.e.,
‘voice’
and
‘compact’.
Next
we
trace
the
evolution
of
thought
and
practice
in

efforts
 to
 improve
 public
 accountability
 till
 the
 current
 emphasis
 on
 citizen

engagement
and
social
accountability.



Drawing
on
the
preceding
discussion
we
then
propose
the
framework
for
Social

Accountability
as
consisting
of
strong
voice
in
conjunction
with
strong
compact.


In
 Chapter
 2,
 we
 contextualize
 the
 discussion
 on
 social
 accountability
 by

analyzing
 the
 findings
 of
 the
 survey
 by
 the
 National
 Institute
 of
 Administrative

Research,
 Lal
 Bahadur
 Shastri
 National
 Academy
 of
 Administration3,
 which

employed
social
accountability
tools
to
understand
the
accountability
failures
in

two
 of
 the
 flagship
 programs
 of
 the
 current
 government,
 namely
 Sarva
 Shiksha

Abhiyan
 (SSA)
 and
 the
 National
 Rural
 Health
 Mission
 (NRHM).
 We
 argue
 that

these
 failures
 represent
 shortcomings
 in
 the
 compact
 and
 voice
 components
 of

public
accountability
that
we
introduced
in
the
last
chapter.


In
 the
 rest
 of
 the
 chapters
 we
 substantiate
 our
 framework
 for
 Social

Accountability,
 and
 propose
 ways
 in
 which
 social
 accountability
 can
 be

facilitated
by
state
policy.
In
Chapter
3
we
look
at
how
to
get
the
compact
right:

i.e.,
 addressing
 institutional
 design
 within
 the
 state
 so
 that
 the
 system
 that

obtains
 makes
 accountability
 structurally
 possible.
 In
 Chapter
 4
 we
 look
 at

strengthening
citizen
voice:
i.e.,
what
can
the
state
do
to
facilitate
accountability

efforts
by
the
citizens.
We
then
identify
challenges
and
vulnerabilities
inherent
to

social
 accountability
 efforts
 in
 Chapter
 5,
 and
 propose
 some
 policy

recommendations
to
overcome
these
challenges
in
Chapter
6.


Accountability:
Conceptual
Underpinnings


Accountability
can
broadly
be
defined
as
the
obligation
of
those
holding
power
to

take
 responsibility
 for
 their
 behaviour
 and
 actions.
 This
 obligation
 might
 stem



































































































































































3
See
Appendix
2
for
details
of
the
survey
and
methodology



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


out
 of
 a
 moral‐ethical
 need
 to
 account
 for
 one’s
 actions,
 or
 out
 of
 a
 legal

requirement.
 It
 is
 a
 relational
 concept
 as
 it
 concerns
 the
 relationship
 between

those
 that
 perform
 an
 action
 or
 deliver
 a
 service,
 i.e.,
 the
 agent,
 and
 those
 on

whom
 the
 action
 or
 service
 has
 an
 effect,
 i.e.,
 the
 principal.
 In
 this
 sense,

accountability
 is
 the
 leverage
 that
 the
 principal
 has
 over
 the
 agent.
 There
 are

various
 elements
 that
 come
 together
 in
 the
 notion
 of
 accountability,
 including

answerability
–
the
need
for
justification
of
actions,
enforcement
–
the
sanctions

that
could
be
imposed
if
the
actions
or
justification
for
the
actions
are
found
to

be
 unsatisfactory,
 and
 responsiveness
 ‐
 the
 ability
 of
 those
 held
 accountable
 to

respond
to
the
demands
made.



Public
accountability
i.e.,
the
need
for
the
state
to
be
accountable
to
its
citizens

stems
 out
 of
 the
 ‘social
 contract’
 that
 the
 citizens
 share
 with
 the
 state.
 In
 a

democracy,
 this
 contract
 is
 operationalized
 when
 citizens
 elect
 a
 government

and
 invest
 the
 elected
 representatives
 with
 the
 power
 to
 govern
 them.
 The

representatives
 in
 their
 turn,
 acting
 themselves
 and
 through
 bureaucrats
 and

administrators
 are
 obliged
 to
 perform
 their
 duties
 of
 governance
 in
 a
 manner

that
 keeps
 the
 citizens’
 interests
 at
 heart.
 There
 are
 institutional
 provisions
 to

ensure
 that
 the
 government
 respects
 this
 contract.
 On
 the
 one
 hand
 there
 are

mechanisms
 for
 external
 accountability,
 or
 accountability
 directly
 to
 the

citizens.
In
a
democracy,
elections
are
the
chief
instrument
through
which
this
is

achieved.
 Citizen
 consultations,
 and
 citizen
 participation
 in
 design,

implementation
 and
 monitoring
 of
 state’s
 services,
 are
 also
 examples
 of
 this.

Alongside,
 there
 are
 also
 provisions
 for
 internal
 accountability
 ‐
 institutional

checks
 and
 balances
 like
 constitutional
 separation
 of
 powers
 into
 Judiciary,

Executive
 and
 Legislature,
 rational
 delegation
 of
 tasks
 and
 responsibilities,

internal
 performance
 monitoring,
 and
 official
 oversight
 including
 bodies
 like

Auditor
General,
Anti
Corruption
Bureaus
and
Vigilance
Commissions
are
some

examples.
 Public
 accountability
 is
 ensured
 when
 these
 two
 aspects
 of

accountability
are
realized
together.



The
 following
 diagram
 illustrates
 this
 point
 using
 the
 framework
 of

accountability
 proposed
 in
 World
 Development
 Report
 2004.
 Ensuring



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Institutionalizing
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accountability
in
the
public
sector
involves
a
two‐step
process
or
the
‘long
route’

of
accountability.
First,
the
state
needs
to
have
a
clear
understanding
of
what
its

citizens
 want.
 For
 this
 to
 occur,
 citizens
 must
 be
 able
 to
 draw
 on
 the
 political

process
 to
 hold
 the
 state
 (policy
 makers
 and
 politicians)
 to
 account.
 This

relationship
 is
 referred
 to
 as
 ‘voice’.
 The
 state,
 in
 turn,
 acting
 as
 the

representative
 of
 the
 people,
 must
 be
 able
 to
 transmit
 these
 demands
 to
 the

actual
 provider
 of
 services
 and
 ensure
 that
 providers
 perform
 their
 functions

effectively.
This
relationship
is
the
‘compact’.



Accountability
 is
 ensured
 when
 compact
 creates
 incentives
 such
 that
 the

providers
accurately
and
conscientiously
follow
the
wishes
of
the
policy
makers,

who,
in
turn,
accurately
reflect
the
voice
of
their
constituents.
By
extension,
this

‘long
 route’
 of
 accountability
 fails
 when
 on
 the
 one
 hand,
 the
 state
 does
 not

succeed
in
taking
cognizance
of
its
citizens’
needs
and
demands
and
citizens
have

no
mechanisms
through
which
to
articulate
their
voice
(failure
of
voice),
and
on

the
 other,
 when
 the
 state
 is
 unable
 to
 create
 incentives
 such
 that
 providers

accurately
and
conscientiously
fulfill
their
duties
(failure
of
compact).


Figure
1:
The
‘Long
Route’
of
Public
Accountability


Addressing
Accountability
Failures:


Traditionally,
efforts
to
improve
accountability
proceeded
along
these
two
axes
‐

internal
and
external
‐
largely
independent
of
one
another.
On
the
external
front,

there
have
been
electoral
reforms,
voter‐awareness
initiatives
and
so
on,
and
on



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Institutionalizing
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Accountability


the
 internal
 front
 there
 have
 been
 efforts
 like
 reorganization
 of
 audit
 and

account
 mechanisms.
 Important
 as
 they
 are,
 these
 efforts
 have
 had
 limited

success
 in
 improving
 accountability
 in
 governance
 and
 service
 delivery.
 There

are
a
number
of
reasons
why.


Elections
as
an
instrument
of
accountability
have
some
well
known
limitations4,

moreover,
 elections
 only
 hold
 elected
 officials
 accountable,
 whereas
 the
 vast

majority
 of
 public
 officials
 are
 appointed
 bureaucrats
 and
 hence
 not
 subject
 to

electoral
 processes.
 Reorganizing
 horizontal
 accountability
 channels
 on
 their

part
have
limitations.

It
is
impossible
to
monitor
the
almost
infinite
number
of

government
 actions
 (and
 inactions).
 Practices
 like
 bias
 and
 inefficient
 resource

use
 lend
 themselves
 to
 investigation
 less
 easily
 than
 more
 express
 forms
 of

corruption.
 Absence
 of
 second
 order
 accountability
 (who
 will
 watch
 the

watchers?),
lack
of
adequate
funding
and
limited
enforcement
capacity
all
serve

to
further
weaken
these
mechanisms.


In
 more
 recent
 years
 there
 has
 been
 an
 acknowledgement
 in
 the
 policy
 circles

around
 the
 world,
 of
 these
 limitations
 in
 traditional
 accountability
 channels.

Alongside
was
the
recognition
that
citizen
participation
in
state’s
activities
could

play
 an
 important
 role
 in
 strengthening
 accountability
 and
 responsiveness
 in

service
 delivery.
 An
 increasing
 body
 of
 literature
 from
 around
 the
 world

documented
 how
 participation
 of
 citizens
 in
 planning,
 implementation
 and

monitoring
 of
 projects
 not
 only
 increased
 the
 effectiveness
 of
 public
 service

delivery
 and
 made
 it
 more
 appropriate,
 but
 also
 increased
 accountability
 and

reduced
corruption5.




























































4
Elections
not
just
occur
only
once
in
every
few
years,
but
also
force
an
incredible
diversity
of
opinions
and


evaluations
together
into
one
single
vote,
which
makes
them
a
rather
blunt
instrument
to
convey

accountability
signals
to
individual
office
holders.
Contextual
realities
in
many
developing
countries
weaken

their
potency
even
further.
Both
voters
and
political
parties
operate
under
severe
informational
constraints,

and
clientelism
and
patronage
are
rife.
Voters
are
mobilized
more
on
the
basis
of
ascriptive
identities
like

religion
and
caste,
or
by
the
lure
of
personalistic
benefits
rather
than
on
the
basis
of
accountable

governance
and
initiatives
that
bring
long‐term
benefits
to
the
public
as
a
whole.


5
Tendler,
J.,
1997,
Good
government
in
the
tropics,
Baltimore:
Johns
Hopkins
University
Press;
Ostrom,
E.,


1996,
‘Crossing
the
great
divide:
coproduction,
synergy,
and
development’,
World
Development
24(6):

1073–1088;




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Accordingly,
 societal
 participation
 in
 state’s
 development
 activities
 was
 no



longer
 seen
 as
 a
 ‘bother’,
 but
 was
 instead
 actively
 encouraged
 as
 a
 means
 to

ensure
 responsiveness
 and
 accountability.
 However,
 this
 participation
 by

citizens
was
of
a
limited
nature
in
that
it
was
circumscribed
to
implementation
of

specific
government
projects.
Measures
for
responsiveness
were
largely
limited

to
 citizen
 consultations,
 and
 those
 for
 accountability
 largely
 to
 monitoring
 of

outputs.
 There
 was
 also
 a
 sense
 in
 which
 society
 was
 acting
 as
 a
 watchdog
 in

ensuring
 government
 accountability.
 All
 of
 which
 underlined
 a
 certain
 “arms‐
length”
relationship
between
the
state
and
the
society.
Autonomy
from
the
state

was
deemed
as
fundamentally
important
not
just
for
legitimacy
of
civil
society
in

its
 pro‐accountability
 role,
 but
 also
 in
 the
 Weberian
 model
 of
 modern

bureaucracies,
 which
 has
 been
 emulated
 in
 most
 developing
 countries,
 public‐
sector
workers
were
as
a
principle
to
be
insulated
from
citizens
so
as
to
maintain

objectivity
in
public
service
–
and
this
insulation
was
only
sparingly
conceded.


More
recently,
a
‘transgressive’
stream
of
research
and
practice
has
questioned

this
 separation
 between
 the
 state
 and
 the
 society.
 Moving
 on
 from
 the

circumscribed
 participation
 in
 co‐production
 of
 specific
 services,
 and
 arms‐
length
 relationship
 in
 pressuring
 the
 government
 from
 outside,
 this
 current

stream
of
research
argues
that
accountability
is
best
obtained
in
“co‐governance”

spaces
 which
 confuse
 the
 boundary
 between
 the
 state
 and
 the
 society.
 These

writings
draw
on
experiences
from
around
the
world
where
citizen
groups
have

been
experimenting
with
inserting
themselves
more
and
more
directly
into
the

state
 apparatus:
 into
 its
 core
 functions
 and
 everyday
 workings,
 monitoring
 its

hitherto
opaque
operations,
and
influencing
policy
from
the
inside.
Participatory

Budgeting
in
Porto
Allegre,
Brazil
was
one
of
the
early
experiences
in
this
stream

where
instead
of
externally
influencing
the
policy,
ordinary
citizens
were
inside

the
governmental
apparatus,
involved
directly
in
the
planning
and
supervision
of

public
 spending
 ‐
 activities
 normally
 under
 the
 exclusive
 purview
 of
 public

officials
(see
Box
1
in
Appendix
1).


Some
authors
argue
that
this
form
of
activism
represents
a
‘new
accountability

agenda’6.
A
pioneering
instance
of
this
from
India
was
the
experience
of
Mazdoor



























































6
Goetz,
A.
and
Jenkins,
R.,
2001,
‘Hybrid
forms
of
accountability:
citizen
engagement
in
institutions
of



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Kisan
 Shakti
 Sangathan
 (MKSS)
 –
 a
 Rajasthan
 based
 grassroots
 organization
 ‐



where
 citizens
 (as
 external
 actors)
 directly
 engage
 with
 institutions
 of
 internal

accountability.
 MKSS
 employed
 ‘social
 audits’
 to
 empower
 ordinary
 citizens
 to

turn
into
auditors,
and
obtain
access
to
the
hitherto
privileged
state
documents

such
as
muster
rolls,
in
order
to
expose
malfeasance.
This
form
of
accountability

has
 been
 called
 ‘hybrid’
 accountability,
 and
 is
 remarkable
 in
 that
 it
 breaks
 the

state’s
 monopoly
 over
 official
 oversight
 and
 legitimizes
 citizen‐inclusion
 into

hitherto
exclusive
affairs
of
the
state.


Thus,
as
we
have
traced,
over
the
years
there
has
been
an
evolution
of
ways
in

which
 societal
 actors
 have
 engaged
 with
 the
 state
 indirectly
 and,
 increasingly,

directly,
to
improve
accountability
in
governance
and
service
delivery
‐
a
process

that
 has
 come
 to
 be
 known
 as
 ‘social
 accountability’:
 an
 approach
 towards

ensuring
 accountability
 that
 relies
 on
 civic
 engagement,
 i.e.,
 in
 which
 ordinary

citizens
 and
 citizen
 groups
 participate
 directly
 or
 indirectly
 in
 exacting

accountability.
 Social
 Accountability
 encompasses
 a
 broad
 range
 of
 actions
 and

mechanisms
 that
 citizens,
 communities,
 independent
 media,
 and
 civil
 society

organizations
 use
 to
 hold
 public
 officials
 and
 public
 servants
 accountable.
 This

involves
 deploying
 tools
 like
 participatory
 budgeting,
 public
 expenditure

tracking,
 citizen
 report
 cards,
 community
 scorecards,
 social
 audits,
 citizen

charters,
 and
 so
 forth.
 Two
 prominent
 characteristics
 stand
 out
 in
 these
 tools

and
 mechanisms.
 First:
 social
 accountability
 efforts
 work
 to
 enhance
 and

integrate
 citizen
 voice
 into
 the
 everyday
 workings
 and
 decision‐making

processes
of
the
state.
There
has,
in
this
sense,
been
a
shift
from
‘vote’
to
‘voice’
is

the
 principal
 accountability
 tool
 in
 the
 hands
 of
 the
 citizens.
 Second:
 central
 to

social
 accountability
 efforts
 is
 transparency
 in
 governance.
 The
 main
 channel

through
 which
 citizens
 are
 being
 empowered
 to
 demand
 accountability
 is

through
 creation
 of,
 and
 access
 to,
 more
 information.
 So
 the
 recurrent
 theme

seems
to
be:
more
information
means
more
empowerment,
which
in
the
context

of
greater
participation
means
more
voice,
which
means
greater
accountability.



































































































































































public‐sector
oversight
in
India’,
Public
Management
Review
3(3):
363‐383



 11

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2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Social
 Accountability
 is
 being
 increasingly
 recognized
 worldwide
 as
 a
 means
 of

enhancing
 democratic
 governance,
 improving
 service
 delivery,
 and
 empowering

citizens.
 Accordingly
 governments
 around
 the
 world
 ‐
 from
 US
 and
 Brazil,
 to

Uganda
 and
 South
 Africa,
 to
 Sri
 Lanka
 and
 New
 Zealand
 ‐
 are
 finding
 ways
 to

facilitate
citizen
engagement
and
foster
social
accountability.



Towards
a
generic
framework
for
Social
Accountability:


Drawing
 from
 the
 framework
 for
 public
 accountability
 and
 the
 subsequent

discussion
 above,
 in
 this
 section
 we
 formulate
 a
 generic
 framework
 for
 Social

Accountability.
 Social
 Accountability
 efforts
 work
 to
 enhance
 and
 integrate

citizen
 voice
 into
 the
 everyday
 working
 and
 decision‐making
 processes
 of
 the

state.
So
any
framework
for
Social
Accountability
should
include
‘facilitating
and

strengthening
 citizen
 voice’
 as
 its
 principal
 component.
 However,
 as
 we

discussed
in
the
preceding
paragraphs
accountability
in
public
service
delivery
is

ensured
 when
 voice
 and
 compact
 work
 together.
 That
 is,
 not
 only
 do
 the

politicians
and
policy
makers
need
to
take
cognizance
of
what
the
citizens
want,

they
 should
 also
 then
 be
 able
 to
 invoke
 the
 more
 traditional
 accountability

relationships
 via
 a
 rational
 delegation
 of
 tasks,
 creation
 of
 the
 right
 incentive

structures
and
so
forth,
so
that
the
service
providers
deliver
the
service
properly.

Thus
 for
 Social
 Accountability
 to
 be
 truly
 effective,
 the
 more
 traditional

mechanisms
 to
 improve
 the
 compact
 must
 also
 be
 addressed.
 Addressing
 the

compact
 involves
 getting
 the
 institutional
 design
 right,
 to
 make
 the
 system

structurally
and
functionally
built
for
accountability
 –
a
system
where
stronger

voice
can
actually
translate
to
better
accountability.



In
sum,
Social
Accountability
in
public
service
delivery
is
a
product
of
two
things

working
 together:
 a
 system
 of
 institutions
 designed
 in
 a
 manner
 that
 makes

accountability
structurally
possible,
and
an
informed
and
mobilized
citizenry

that
 can
 draw
 upon
 platforms
 for
 engagement
 to
 make
 accountability

demands
 on
 the
 system.
 That
 is,
 strong
 voice,
 in
 conjunction
 with
 strong

compact.




 12

AI
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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


This
framework
is
illustrated
in
the
figure
below.


In
the
rest
of
the
document,
we
substantiate
this
framework
and
propose
ways
in

which
 the
 state
 can
 address
 the
 two
 components
 in
 order
 to
 foster
 social

accountability
in
its
programs



 13

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Chapter
2:
Assessing
accountability
failures
in
Education
and
Health
–
The

NAIR
Survey


This
chapter
contextualizes
the
discussion
on
Social
Accountability
by
analyzing

the
 findings
 of
 the
 survey
 carried
 out
 by
 NIAR,
 LBSNAA,
 Mussoorie7
 to

understand
 the
 nature
 of
 accountability
 failures
 in
 India,
 and
 study
 potential

ways
of
enhancing
social
accountability
in
two
flagship
schemes
undertaken
by

the
 current
 government,
 namely
 the
 Sarva
 Shiksha
 Abhiyan
 (SSA)
 and
 the

National
Rural
Health
Mission
(NRHM).



The
focus
of
our
analysis
would
be
to
situate
these
findings
in
the
framework
for

accountability
discussed
in
Chapter
1,
with
a
view
to
underlining
the
basic
point

that
 although
 social
 accountability
 is
 about
 enhancing
 citizen
 voice
 and

participation
 in
 service
 delivery,
 in
 order
 to
 realize
 it
 there
 are
 issues
 to
 be

addressed
 within
 the
 compact
 –
 the
 institutional
 design
 itself
 ‐
 to
 make
 the

system
 structurally
 and
 functionally
 built
 for
 accountability
 –
 a
 system
 where

stronger
 voice
 can
 actually
 translate
 to
 better
 accountability.
 
 Through
 this

analysis,
we
also
hope
to
highlight
weaknesses
in
the
current
system.


We
 begin
 by
 setting
 SSA
 and
 NRHM
 against
 the
 backdrop
 of
 general
 failures
 in

education
 and
 health
 service
 delivery
 in
 India.
 We
 then
 look
 briefly
 at
 the

important
 institutional
 features
 of
 each
 scheme;
 particularly
 those
 that
 help
 us

understand
 the
 various
 accountability
 relationships
 that
 exist
 in
 the

corresponding
sector.
Following
that
we
will
look
at
the
way
in
which
these
de

jure
 features
 actually
 play
 out
 in
 practice.
 Here
 we
 draw
 on
 the
 findings
 of
 the

NIAR.
LBSNAA,
Survey
We
then
step
back
and
analyze
these
findings
by
situating

them
 in
 failures
 of
 voice
 and
 compact
 in
 order
 to
 understand
 the
 more
 general

failures
in
accountability
in
these
two
services.


The
Context:


Between
 2003‐04
 and
 2006‐07,
 the
 Central
 Government’s
 annual
 budgetary



allocations
 for
 Education
 increased
 by
 nearly
 50%
 from
 Rs.
 89732
 crore
 to
 Rs.

134274
 crore.
 Despite
 this,
 the
 state
 of
 school
 education
 in
 India
 continues
 to


























































7
See
Appendix
2
for
a
note
on
Research
Methodology
of
the
survey



 14

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


remain
poor.
Although
the
enrolment
rates
have
gone
up,
the
learning
levels
at

schools
continue
to
remain
very
low.
ASER
2008
estimates
that
44%
children
in

Std
 5
 cannot
 read
 a
 Std
 2
 text,
 whereas
 close
 to
 40%
 of
 children
 in
 Standard
 1

cannot
 recognize
 alphabets.
 35.4%
 children
 in
 standard
 2
 cannot
 recognize

numbers
 beyond
 10.
 
 The
 fact
 that
 schools
 continue
 to
 receive
 funding
 and

teachers
 access
 regular
 salaries
 despite
 this
 extremely
 poor
 performance
 is
 a

clear
 indication
 the
 inability
 of
 the
 state
 and
 citizens
 to
 monitor
 performance

and
ensure
enforceability
on
service
providers
One
of
the
most
serious
problem

with
 schooling
 today
 is
 the
 rampant
 absenteeism
 among
 teachers:
 a
 national

survey
 involving
 unannounced
 visits
 to
 measure
 teacher
 attendance
 revealed

that
 24%
 of
 teachers
 in
 India
 simply
 did
 not
 show
 up
 at
 school
 during
 class

hours.
Health
tells
a
similar
story.
Central
planned
allocation
to
on
the
Ministry

of
Health
and
Family
Welfare
since
it
was
launched
in
2005
has
increased
from

7677
 crore
 to
 13810
 crore
 in
 2008‐09.
 This
 represents
 an
 increase
 of
 79.8%

percent
 in
 the
 last
 four
 years.
 And
 yet
 there
 is
 a
 growing
 recognition
 that
 the

system
of
public
delivery
of
health
services
in
India
is
in
crisis.
High
absenteeism

by
 doctors
 and
 health
 care
 staff,
 low
 quality
 in
 clinical
 care,
 low
 satisfaction

levels,
 and
 rampant
 corruption
 are
 prevalent.
 A
 recent
 study
 by
 Das
 and

Hammer8
 on
 the
 quality
 of
 medical
 care
 in
 Delhi
 found
 that
 the
 competence

levels
 of
 a
 public
 sector
 MBBS
 doctor
 in
 a
 PHC
 were
 so
 poor
 that
 there
 was
 as

high
as
a
50:50
chance
of
the
doctor
recommending
a
seriously
harmful
therapy.

Absenteeism
rates
among
primary
healthcare
workers
in
India
are
the
highest
in

the
 world
 at
 40%,
 with
 Bihar
 topping
 the
 list
 at
 60%
 (World
 Bank’s
 Global

Monitoring
Report
2008).



An
important
reason
for
these
appalling
scenarios
in
both
health
and
education

has
been
the
lack
of
accountability
in
our
public
services.


Government
of
India’s
flagship
program
in
Education
in
which
it
aims
to
address

these
 failures
 is
 the
 Sarva
 Shiksha
 Abhiyan
 (SSA).
 Launched
 in
 2001,
 the

programme
aims
 to
 universalize
 elementary
education
 (6‐14
 yrs
of
age)
across

the
country
by
the
year
2010.
The
National
Rural
Health
Mission
(NRHM)
is
the


























































8
Das,
Jishnu
&
Hammer,
Jeffrey,
2007.
"Money
for
nothing:
The
dire
straits
of
medical
practice
in
Delhi,

India,"
Journal
of
Development
Economics,
Elsevier,
vol.
83(1),
pages
1‐36,
May
2007



 15

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


flagship
program
in
the
Health
sector.
Launched
in
2005,
NRHM
aims
to
address

the
 failures
 in
 health
 service
 delivery
 by
 carrying
 out
 “necessary
 architectural

correction
 in
 the
 basic
 health
 care
delivery
system”.
Both
 of
 these
schemes
 were

taken
up
in
the
context
of
decentralization
of
the
service
delivery,
with
the
core

strategy
 being
 empowerment
 of
 local
 governments
 and
 community
 based

organizations
to
manage,
control
and
ensure
accountability
in
public
health
and

education
services.


Institutional
Features
of
SSA:


The
following
diagram
represents
the
institutional
framework
of
SSA.


Briefly,
 the
 central
 government
 lays
 down
 the
 key
 guidelines
 for

implementation
 including
 financial
 norms.
 It
 is
 also
 responsible
 for
 setting

standards
and
goals
for
the
program
through
curriculum
design,
monitoring
and



 16

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


evaluation.
It
contributes
50%
of
the
funds
in
the
SSA,
and
also
runs
revenue
and

financial
sustainability
assessments
for
the
program.



Funds
 from
 the
 central
 government
 are
 devolved
 to
 the
 state
 government

through
 state
 level
 implementation
 societies.
 
 The
 state
 society
 ,
 is
 an

autonomous
 society
 set
 up
 for
 the
 specific
 purpose
 of
 implementing
 SSA
 and

works
in
collaboration
with
the
relevant
line
department
in
the
state.
The
state

society
is
the
primary
implementation
unit
for
the
scheme.
It
has
a
wide
range
of

policy
 and
 operational
 responsibilities
 including
 fund
 transfers,
 monitoring,

setting
 performance
 
 standards,
 developing
 process
 and
 quality
 indicators
 to

track
implementaion,
developing
a
financial
monitoring
system,
and
allocation
of

funds
 across
 different
 levels
 of
 the
 service
 delivery
 chain.
 According
 to
 the

guidelines,
 hiring
 of
 teachers
 is
 the
 responsibility
 of
 the
 state
 level
 societies.
 In

many
 states
 (WB/Gujarat,Tamil
 Nadu)
 teachers
 are
 hired
 at
 the
 state
 level.

However,
 in
 others
 (Orissa
 and
 Jharkhand
 for
 instance),
 these
 decisions
 have

been
devolved
to
the
Block
or
Gram
Panchayat.


Funds
 from
 the
 state
 government
 are
 in
 turn
 devolved
 to
 the
 district

administration.
 It
 is
 incharge
 of
 certain
 operational
 activities
 such
 as
 capacity

building,
 training
 and
 
 devolving
 funds
 to
 the
 schools
 based
 on
 norms

determined
 by
 the
 central
 and
 state
 governments,
 setting
 up
 Cluster
 Resource

Centres
(CRCs)
and
Block
Resource
Centres
(BRCs)
,
setting
up
of
DIETs
(
District

Institute
 of
 Education
 and
 Training),
 as
 well
 as
 undertaking
 monitoring
 and

evaluation
of
functionaries
as
prescribed
by
state
governments.


The
BRC
is
a
resource
center
where
books,
discussion
papers
etc
are
available.
It

is
highly
involved
in
the
planing
and
organizing
of
workshops,
review
meetings,

training
of
teachers
and
various
SSA
functionaries,
monitoring
of
CRC
activities,

schools
visits,
supervision
of
civil
works
etc.


One
level
down,
the
CRC
has
a
more
hands‐on
approach:
from
monitoring
school

activities,
 visiting
 primary
 schools
 regularly,
 observing
 students
 noteboks,

monitoring
 exams,
 discussing
 the
 results
 in
 VEC/PTA
 meetings,
 sharing

achievement
levels
and
problems
at
the
BRC
etc.



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability



At
the
village
level,
the
Village
Education
Committee
‘s
(VEC)
have
been
set
up.

The
 VEC
 lies
 at
 the
 heart
 of
 the
 day
 to
 day
 implementation
 and
 monitoring

operations
 of
 the
 school.It
 is
 responsible
 for
 the
 actual
 expenditure
 of
 funds

available
 for
 maintenance,
 repair
 and
 teaching
 materials
 etc.
 It
 is
 also

responsible
for
the
monitoring
of
teachers’
and
students’
performance.
In
many

states,
the
VEC’s
work
in
collaboration
with
the
Gram
Panchayat
(GP).
The
GP
is

responsible
 for
 appointing
 the
 VEC
 and
 usually,
 the
 GP
 President
 is
 a
 key

signatory
 for
 all
 the
 VEC’s
 financial
 transactions.
 Other
 GP
 responsibilities

include
 hiring
 para‐teachers.
 The
 VEC
 also
 develops
 village
 level
 plans
 and

annual
 work
 plans
 on
 education
 to
 reflect
 local
 needs
 .These
 micro‐plans
 are

aggregated
 up
 at
 the
 district
 level
 and
 the
 state
 level
 where
 they
 are
 meant
 to

provide
 the
 basis
 for
 expenditure
 assignments.
 In
 some
 states
 VECs
 are
 also

responsible
for
monitoring
the
quality
of
the
Mid‐Day
Meal
Scheme
in
the
school.

The
presence
of
VECs
and
their
role
in
community
mobilization,
monitoring
and

information
dissemination
are
crucial
provisions
towards
a
public
accountability

system
inbuilt
into
the
SSA
norms.


How
it
plays
out
in
practice:


De
facto
principles
aside,
the
deplorable
state
of
school
education
is
testament
to

the
 fact
 that
 not
 everything
 is
 working
 the
 way
 it
 was
 meant
 to.
 Some
 of
 these

are
due
largely
to
indifferent
implemetation
of
the
guidelines
set
up
in
policy,
but

a
deeper
analysis
reveals
that
there
are
also
some
issues
in
institutional
design

itself
which
breeds
inefficiencies.
We
will
analyse
these
failures
after
listing
out

the
 de
 facto
 state
 of
 SSA
 implementation
 as
 revealed
 by
 this
 survey
 and

someother
surveys.


1.
 Awareness
 of
 the
 programmes
 components:
 Although
 the
 district
 level

officials
 were
 fairly
 well
 aware
 of
 the
 SSA
 scheme
 and
 its
 components,
 at
 the

panchayat
 level
 officials
 were
 largely
 unaware
 of
 many
 aspects
 of
 program

implementation.
 Information,
 when
 it
 was
 available
 was
 mostly
 available
 on

infrastructural
 aspects
 of
 service
 delivery,
 such
 as
 civil
 works
 rather
 than,
 for



 18

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


instance,
 quality
 of
 education.
 The
 communities
 themselves
 were
 largely



ignorant
about
SSA,
even
of
the
existence
of
VECs.



In
 Bihar,
 fewer
 than
 10%
 citizens
 interviewed
 had
 knowledge
 of
 the
 programs

through
the
GPO,
Gram
Sabhas
or
GP
members.
Over
60%
respondents
did
not

know
 the
 objectives
 of
 the
 SSA
 in
 Uttarakhand
 and
 Bihar.
 However,
 over
 70%

respondents
in
Kerala,
when
asked
if
they
had
been
informed
of
the
benefits
of

the
 two
 programs,
 said
 yes.
 In
 Uttarakhand,
 though
 53.3%
 GP
 members
 knew

about
the
SSA,
only
25.19%
knew
of
the
objectives
of
the
program.
Further,
only

21.4%
of
GP
members
in
Uttarakhand
and
34%
in
Bihar
actually
knew
when
the

program
had
been
initiated
in
their
jurisdictions.


The
Kerala
story
is
an
interesting
one,
and
needs
to
be
understood
in
the
broader

context
of
Kerala’s
developmental
history
of
greater
participation
of
Panchayats

and
communities.




The
 awareness
 of
 implementating
 officials
 in
 being
 able
 to
 carry
 out
 the

implementation
of
the
program
depends
crucially
on
the
training
they
receive
at

the
 Block
 level.However,
 as
 is
 evident
 from
 the
 table
 above,not
 all
 officials

receive
this
training.
What
is
perhaps
more
problematic
is
that
even
fewer
find

this
 training
 useful
 in
 carrying
 out
 their
 duties.Less
 than
 30%
 officials
 in

Uttarakhand
and
Kerala
found
the
training
received
to
be
useful.




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Institutionalizing
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2.
VECs:
VECs,
the
cornerstone
of
decentralized
model
that
SSA
is
based
on,
were

on
 paper
 present
 everywhere,
 but
 in
 practice
 largely
 dysfunctional.
 In
 many

cases
 the
 members
 did
 not
 know
 they
 were
 members
 of
 any
 committee.
 The

meetings
 rarely
 happen,
 and
 when
 they
 do,
 hardly
 any
 constructive
 discussion

about
school
quality
takes
place.
As
per
the
preliminary
findings
in
nearly
60%

of
 the
 study
 villages
 in
 both
 Uttarakhand
 and
 Bihar,
 the
 communities
 were
 not

aware
about
VECs
or
its
membership.


3.
High
absenteeism
and
lack
of
effort
from
teachers:
As
the
statistics
in
the

beginning
 of
 this
 section
 reveal,
 rampant
 absenteeism
 among
 teachers
 is
 a

serious
problem.
Even
when
teachers
are
present,
many
of
them
are
not
engaged

in
teaching
activities.


4.
Corruption
and
leakages:
The
survey
highlights
that
corruption
continues
to

exist
 in
 the
 form
 of
 over‐reporting
 of
 enrollment
 rates,
 leakages
 and
 over‐
claiming
 of
 budgeted
 meals
 in
 MDM‐implementations,
 and
 politicization
 of

teacher
appointments.


5.
Monitoring
failures:
A
common
underlying
problem
in
most
of
these
failures

is
the
lack
of
effective
monitoring
of
the
programme.
The
VECs
are
the
principal

monitoring
 bodies
 at
 the
 local
 levels,
 but
 owing
 either
 to
 ignorance
 among
 its

members
 of
 the
 roles
 and
 responsibilities,
 or
 to
 indifference,
 the
 VECs
 have
 in

large
 part
 failed
 to
 deliver
 effectively.
 An
 important
 tool
 which
 monitoring

authorities
can
use
is
the
Social
Audit,
something
which
has
been
used
in
many



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states.
 However,
 a
 majority
 of
 implementation
 officials
 in
 the
 3
 states
 revealed

that
no
such
audits
have
been
conducted
in
the
program
at
all.


6.
Disconnect
between
needs
and
allocations:
Although
on
paper
the
village‐
level
plans
are
meant
to
ensure
the
local
needs
get
reflected
in
the
expenditure

assignments,
 in
 practice,
 in
 the
 process
 of
 aggregation
 of
 plans
 from
 various

villages
at
the
district
and
then
at
the
state
levels,
the
actual
allocations
and
the

restrictive
 headings
 under
 which
 they
 are
 prescribed
 for
 use
 (tied
 funds)

effectively
disconnect
resource
allocations
from
local
needs.
This
is
made
worse

by
the
fact
that
there
are
delays
in
release
of
funds,
ending
in
last
quarter
rushes

in
fund
release
and
the
resulting
inefficiencies
in
spending
rushes.




Source:
Accountability
Initiative
Budget
Briefs:
Educational
Sector
2008­09



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7.
Quality
/satisfaction:

The
data
from
the
satisfaction
survey
among
beneficiaries
of
the
SSA
provides
us

with
 a
 mixed
 picture
 of
 the
 final
 analysis
 of
 this
 program.
 A
 majority
 of

beneficiaries
are
‘somewhat
satisfied’,
but
this
could
be
a
limitation
of
the
survey

in
terms
of
the
way
questions
were
asked.




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The
National
Rural
Health
Mission:


The
institutional
structure
of
NRHM
can
be
captured
in
the
following
diagram:


Briefly,
 NRHM
 decentralized
 health
 service
 delivery.
 The
 National
 Mission



Steering
 Group
 at
 the
 MoHFW
 and
 the
 Empowered
 Programme
 Committee

(implementing
agency)
serve
the
purpose
of
outlining
the
broad
framework
and

policy
decisions
of
the
NRHM.
At
the
State
level,
the
State
Health
Missions
have

the
 responsibility
 of
 oversight,
 policy
 matters,
 review
 of
 the
 progress
 of

implementation,
approval
of
the
state
health
plans,
co‐ordination
with
NGOs
etc.


The
 district
 is
 the
 key
 institutional
 unit
 for
 planning,
 budgeting
 and

implementation
 of
 health
 services.
 The
 key
 role
 articulated
 here
 is
 the

development
 of
 cross‐sectoral
 health
 plans
 that
 integrate
 health
 concerns
 with

determinants
 of
 health
 such
 as
 hygiene,
 sanitation,
 nutrition
 and
 safe
 drinking

water.
The
plans
are
an
amalgamation
of
village
health
plans,
state
and
national

plans
and
priorities,
as
well
as
other
centrally
sponsored
schemes.


The
 Primary
 Health
 Centre
 is
 directly
 responsible
 to
 the
 elected
 representative

of
the
Gram
Panchayat
where
it
is
located.
NRHM
introduces
a
new
community‐
based
 functionary
 called
 Accredited
 Social
 Health
 Activist
 (ASHA).
 The
 ASHA

must
primarily
be
a
woman
resident
of
the
village,
between
25‐45
years
of
age,



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with
formal
education
at
least
up
to
8th
class.
She
will
be
selected
by
the
Village

Health
 and
 Sanitation
 Committee
 (VHC)
 and
 the
 Gram
 Sabha.
 ASHA
 will

coordinate
 with
 ANM
 (Auxiliary
 Nurse
 and
 Midwife)
 and
 AWW
 (Anganwadi

Worker)
 and
 be
 accountable
 to
 the
 Gram
 Panchayat.
 ASHA’s
 role
 will
 be
 to

promote
 good
 health
 practices
 and
 provide
 primary
 medical
 care
 for
 minor

ailments.
The
government
will
provide
a
drug‐kit
to
each
ASHA
to
facilitate
this

new
 task.
 ASHA
 is
 not
 a
 paid
 employee,
 but
 will
 be
 compensated
 by
 the

Panchayat
on
the
basis
of
measurable
outputs
of
services
she
performs.


NRHM
 mandates
 the
 creation
 of
 Village
 Health
 Committees
 that
 prepare
 health

plans
for
the
village
which
form
a
component
of
the
district
level
health
plan,
and

also
have
a
direct
role
in
monitoring
of
the
service
at
local
level.



Untied
 funds
 at
 all
 levels
 including
 local
 levels
 with
 flexibility
 for
 innovation.
 A

system
 of
 periodic
 Jan
 Sunwais
 at
 various
 levels
 to
 empower
 community

members
to
 engage
 in
giving
direct
feedback
and
suggestions
for
 improvement

in
 public
 health
 services
 has
 been
 set
 up.
 It
 is
 compulsory
 for
 all
 the
 health

institutions
 to
 prominently
 display
 information
 regarding
 grants
 received,

medicines
and
vaccines
in
stock,
services
provided
to
the
patients,
user
charges

to
be
paid
etc,
as
envisaged
in
the
Right
to
Information
Act.
The
requirements
of

audit
apply
to
all
NRHM
activities.



How
it
plays
out
in
practice:


While
the
NRHM
was
ostensibly
aimed
at
architectural
corrections
in
addressing

the
 failures
 in
 public
 health
 delivery,
 like
 in
 SSA,
 the
 findings
 of
 the
 study

indicate
that
not
everything
is
working.
The
following
points
highlight
the
main

problems:


1. Awareness
 of
 program
 components:
 The
 survey
 revealed
 a
 worrying
 lack
 of

awareness
 about
 NRHM
 and
 its
 components.
 This
 was
 true
 not
 only
 among

villagers
 at
 large,
 but
 also
 among
 the
 functionaries
 from
 the
 block
 level

downwards
who
were
supposed
to
be
implementing
the
program.
In
the
PPMT

exercise
 in
 Tehri
 district
 in
 Uttarakhand,
 for
 instance,
 the
 health
 supervisors



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“categorically
 denied”
 any
 knowledge
 about
 the
 programme
 components.
 In



Uttrakhand
 and
 Bihar,
 over
 70%
 beneficiaries
 did
 not
 know
 the
 objectives
 of

NRHM.
 In
 Uttarakhand,
 though
 42.2%
 of
 GP
 members
 knew
 about
 the
 NRHM,

only
 17.78%
 knew
 of
 the
 objectives
 of
 the
 program.
 Further,
 only
 21.4%
 of
 GP

members
in
Uttarakhand
and
27%
in
Bihar
actually
knew
when
the
program
had

been
initiated
in
their
jurisdictions.
On
the
one
hand
this
was
due
to
inadequate

or
absent
attempts
at
training
of
the
officials,
or
more
worryingly
lack
of
interest

among
those
officials
insulated
by
political
connections.




2.
VHCs:
In
many
villages,
the
survey
found
that
the
VHCs
were
not
even
formed,

and
 where
 formed
 its
 supposed
 members
 either
 did
 not
 know
 that
 they
 were

members
 of
 any
 committee,
 or
 were
 woefully
 unaware
 of
 what
 their

responsibilities
were
in
that
role.



3.
Shortage
of
staff,
high
absenteeism,
and
lack
of
training:
Shortage
of
staff,

including
doctors
emerged
as
the
major
problem,
compounded
by
high
rates
of

absenteeism.
 The
 staff
 present
 were
 found
 to
 be
 inadequately
 trained.
 In
 the

survey,
 46%
 of
 implementing
 officials
 had
 not
 received
 any
 training
 in

Uttarakhand
and
Bihar,
and
61%
of
those
who
did
felt
it
had
not
been
useful.




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On
 training,
 the
 story
 is
 similar
 to
 SSA,
 a
 large
 percentage
 of
 officials
 did
 not

receive
 training
 to
 be
 able
 to
 carry
 out
 the
 effective
 implementation
 of
 the

program.
 Also,
 over
 60%
 of
 those
 who
 received
 training
 in
 Uttarakhand
 and

Bihar
did
not
think
it
was
useful.


4.
Service
quality
remains
poor:



The
 survey
 found
 that
 although
 in
 infrastructure
 development
 has
 been

relatively
 good,
 the
 quality
 of
 service
 remains
 very
 poor.
 More
 than
 91%
 of
 all

beneficiaries
 in
 all
 3
 states
 could
 not
 get
 their
 problems
 in
 either
 program

resolved.



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Once
again,
the
results
of
the
Citizen
Satisfaction
Report
conducted
in
the
survey

leave
an
inconclusive
picture
in
terms
of
the
impact
and
implementation
of
the

NRHM.



 
 
 
 
 
 


5.
Corruption:
The
medicines
prescribed
were
also
ones
that
were
not
available

in
the
hospital
–
the
lack
of
transparency
possibly
hiding
collusion
between
the

medical
 officers
 and
 medical
 shops
 outside.
 Under
 the
 Janani
 Suraksha
 Yojana

which
 gives
 cash
 incentives
 for
 women
 coming
 into
 the
 hospital
 for
 labour,

bribes
were
being
demanded
by
PHC
officials
handing
out
the
cheques.



6.
 Failures
 of
 ASHA:
 the
 recruitment
 of
 ASHAs
 was
 politicized
 and
 far
 from

transparent
and
consultative,
further
there
was
corruption
among
ASHAs
forging

addresses
of
pregnant
women
in
order
to
capture
the
cash
incentives.



7.
Monitoring
failures:
a
common
underlying
feature
in
most
of
these
problems

was
 a
 failure
 of
 monitoring
 mechanisms
 that
 are,
 ostensibly,
 present
 on
 paper.

The
 VHCs
 in
 particular
 were
 entrusted
 with
 local
 community
 level
 monitoring

and
there
were
obvious
failures
in
this
due
either
to
lack
of
participation
by
the

members,
 or
 complete
 lack
 of
 responsibilities.
 Even
 the
 departmental

monitoring
was
weak
and
ineffective,
sometimes
owing
to
a
lack
of
coordination

between
 project
 level
 staff
 and
 regular
 staff,
 sometimes
 to
 indifference
 and

absenteeism
 by
 the
 concerned
 officials.
 Social
 Audit
 were
 not
 organized

according
 to
 76%
 of
 the
 NRHM
 program
 Officials.
 Over
 68%
 of
 GP
 members
 in

Uttarakhand
and
Bihar
said
that
no
independent
appraisal
of
either
scheme
had

been
done.



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Further
issues
in
the
two
programs
brought
to
light
by
the
survey:


The
 survey
 also
 throws
 light
 on
 a
 variety
 of
 common
 problems
 shared
 by

government
programs.
When
asked
if
any
PRI
officials
have
made
plans
for
the

implementation
 of
 either
 the
 SSA
 or
 NRHM,
 90
 GP
 members
 (66.67%)
 in

Uttarakhand
 and
 59
 respondents
 (64.84%)
 in
 Bihar
 said
 No.
 Over
 96%
 PRI

officials
 in
 Uttarakhand
 and
 over
 90%in
 Bihar
 gave
 us
 no
 response
 to
 whether

they
even
record
the
grievances
of
the
people
vis‐à‐vis
the
programs.




Another
interesting
finding
is
reflected
in
figure
below.
A
large
percentage
of
the

Gram
 Panchayat
 members
 are
 in
 fact
 not
 involved
 in
 any
 significant
 activities

related
to
service
delivery.






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Analysing
the
failures
in
SSA
and
NRHM:


The
 accountability
 failures
 that
 are
 at
 the
 heart
 of
 these
 problems
 in
 SSA
 and

NRHM
can
be
understood
in
the
context
of
the
voice
and
compact
framework
of

public
 accountability
 discussed
 in
 Chapter
 1.
 Such
 delineation
 would
 be
 a
 first

step
towards
identifying
specific
ways
of
addressing
specific
problems.


Failures
in
voice:



The
voice
failures
correspond
to
lack
of
awareness
among
the
members
of
VECs

and
 VHCs
 about
 their
 individual
 roles
 of
 responsibilities,
 and
 about
 the

programme
 features.
 Information,
 awareness
 and
 community
 mobilization,
 as

we
 will
 expand
 in
 the
 next
 chapter,
 are
 fundamental
 prerequisites
 for

strengthening
 of
 citizen
 voice.
 Unless
 the
 citizens
 know
 what
 to
 expect,
 know

what
they
are
expected
to
do,
and
how
to
do
what
they
are
expected
to
do,
and

unless
the
citizens
are
mobilized
to
believe
in
their
entitlements
and
power
over

the
officials,
and
to
act
accordingly,
it
is
futile
to
expect
them
to
participate
in
any

meaningful
way
in
their
pro‐accountability
role.
The
serious
lack
of
monitoring

and
hence
accountability
is
in
large
part
due
to
lack
of
awareness
or
indifference

among
the
community
members.
Effectiveness
of
voice
is
also
contingent
on
the

information
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 which
 the
 VECs
 and
 VHCs
 can
 make
 demands
 and

propose
changes.
As
is
evident
from
the
PPMT
exercise
in
the
survey,
the
groups

are
 not
 informed
 of
 budgets,
 expenditures,
 and
 quality
 outcomes.
 Therefore

there
is
no
basis
on
which
to
plan
efficiently.


Further,
the
easiest
way
to
express
voice
is
through
the
Gram
Panchayat,
as
this

is
the
level
of
government
closest
to
the
people.
But,
as
the
institutional
design

story
tells
us,
the
GP
itself
has
limited
powers
and
resources.
So
even
if
voice

were
to
be
expressed
to
the
GP,
the
effect
would
be
minimal.




Failures
in
compact:


The
compact
failures
on
the
other
hand
correspond
to
the
institutional
design
of

the
program
that
has
failed
to
create
optimal
delegation
and
incentive
structure

in
which
accountability
is
possible.



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For
instance,
take
NRHM’s
reporting
structures.
In
the
present
system
ASHA
is

accountable
 to
 both
 the
 GP,
 its
 parent
 department,
 the
 Department
 of
 Family

Welfare
 and
 Women
 and
 Child.
 Functionaries
 at
 the
 district
 health
 mission
 are

also
 required
 to
 report
 to
 multiple
 departments
 at
 state
 level.
 23%
 of
 program

officials
did
not
play
any
role
in
the
planning
of
the
scheme
in
their
jurisdiction
A

crucial
principle
of
accountability
is
that
there
be
as
few
lines
of
accountability
as

possible
 in
 order
 to
 prevent
 contradictory
 orders
 and
 create
 confusion
 on
 the

part
of
the
provider.



Another
area
in
both
SSA
and
NRHM
where
compact
is
failing
is
manifest
in
the

rampant
 absenteeism
 among
 the
 teachers
 and
 doctors,
 an
 indication
 of

underlying
 failures
 in
 incentive
 structures
 that
 allow
 such
 inefficiencies
 to

persist.
In
many
states,
the
GP
in
collaboration
with
the
VECs
has
the
power
only

to
hire
para‐
teachers,
while
the
full‐time
teachers
are
still
a
state
prerogative
(In

MP
they
have
frozen
the
state
cadre).
Similarly,
hiring
and
firing
of
the
doctors
is

at
the
state
level,
and
thus
far
removed
from
where
the
monitoring
is
occurring

(at
the
village
level).


Failures
in
compact
also
serve
to
seriously
weaken
voice,
which
is
supposed
to
be

at
the
heart
of
both
the
schemes.
In
SSA,
this
takes
the
form
of
local
level
village

plans
not
getting
reflected
in
earnest
in
expenditure
assignments
from
the
state,

because
 despite
 the
 provisions
 for
 village
 level
 annual
 work
 plans
 to
 be
 taken

into
account,
the
central
government
has
set
fairly
rigid
guidelines
on
the
basis

of
 which
 plans
 and
 expenditure
 assignments
 are
 actually
 made.
 
 These

decisions
are
made
on
the
basis
of
formulae
applicable
across
all
schools
in
the

state
 without
 any
 scope
 for
 addressing
 cost
 disabilities
 (such
 as
 transportation

costs)
 in
 particular
 regions.
 School
 performance,
 teacher
 attendance,
 teacher

availability
 or
 even
 infrastructure
 needs
 are
 not
 reflected
 in
 expenditure

decisions.
 When
 funds
 reach
 the
 school,
 they
 mostly
 come
 tied
 to
 specific

expenditure
 items.
 Schools
 have
 little
 internal
 flexibility
 to
 plan
 and
 align

expenditures
to
felt
needs.
As
a
result,
financing
rarely
reflects
realities
on
the

ground.
This
is
on
top
of
the
skewed
pacing
of
fund
release.



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Chapter
 3.
 Towards
 a
 framework
 for
 social
 accountability
 –
 1:
 Getting
 the

compact
right

As
we
discussed
in
the
Chapter
1,
Social
Accountability
in
public
service
delivery

is
a
product
of
two
things
working
together:
a
system
of
institutions
designed

in
 a
 manner
 that
 makes
 accountability
 structurally
 possible,
 and
 an

informed
 and
 mobilized
 citizenry
 that
 can
 draw
 upon
 platforms
 for

engagement
to
make
accountability
demands
on
the
system.
The
first
of
these

is
what
we
referred
to
as
getting
the
compact
right,
and
the
second
as
enhancing

citizen
voice.



In
 this
 chapter
 we
 focus
 on
 addressing
 the
 compact
 by
 revisiting
 some
 of
 the

first
principles
of
institutional
design.
To
be
sure,
under
the
decentralized
model

of
 service
 delivery
 of
 schemes
 like
 SSA
 and
 NRHM,
 the
 beginnings
 of
 an

institutional
framework
within
which
such
design
issues
can
be
addressed
are
in

place.
 But
 the
 devil,
 as
 we
 will
 elaborate,
 is
 in
 the
 details.
 And
 meticulous

attention
to
these
details
of
institutional
design
can
go
a
long
way
in
overcoming

such
 glaring
 accountability
 failures
 as
 those
 that
 emerged
 in
 Chapter
 2,
 and

importantly
 create
 a
 system
 which
 is
 structurally
 amenable
 to
 social

accountability
efforts
by
the
citizens.


Getting
the
institutional
design
right:
revisiting
first
principles


At
their
most
fundamental
level,
institutions
are
‘rules
of
the
game’9.
They
are
a

system
of
norms
that
structure
human
interaction
and
organizational
behaviour.

Good
 institutions
 are
 characterized
 by
 well‐defined
 rules,
 and
 create
 the
 right‐
incentive
structures
so
that
the
‘game
is
fair’.
On
the
other
hand,
bad
institutions

are
those
with
unclear
rules
and
perverse
incentives
that
allow
some
players
to

‘capture
the
game’
for
themselves.


To
 ensure
 accountability
 in
 a
 system,
 it
 is
 therefore
 fundamentally
 important

that
we
first
get
the
institutional
design
right:
that
is
to
ensure
that
the
rules
of

the
 game
 are
 clear
 to
 all
 the
 players,
 the
 incentives
 are
 properly
 aligned
 and



























































9
North,
D.,
1990,
Institutions,
Institutional
Change
and
Economic
Performance,
Cambridge:
CUP



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


sanctions
unfailingly
enforced
so
that
the
system
that
then
obtains,
structurally

fosters
accountable
behaviour.



Policy
 analysts
 around
 the
 world
 have
 studied
 successful
 reforms
 in
 service

delivery
and
identified
five
core
‘first
principles’
of
institutional
design
that
make

accountability
structurally
possible10:


1.
Clear
articulation
of
goals
that
focus
on
improved
outcomes:
The
first
step

towards
 creating
 an
 accountable
 system
 is
 the
 clear
 articulation
 of
 goals
 and

objectives
 across
 the
 service
 delivery
 chain
 –
 goals
 that
 focus
 on
 improving

outcomes.
 Such
 articulation
 provides
 the
 basis
 against
 which
 real
 performance

can
be
measured,
and
accountability
sought.



As
Chapter
2
highlights,
in
India,
as
in
much
of
the
developing
world,
the
primary

goal
 for
 service
 delivery
 policies
 and
 programs
 has
 been
 to
 improve
 access.


Performance
therefore
has
traditionally
been
measured
on
the
basis
of
inputs,
or

easily
 measurable
 outputs–
 the
 amount
 of
 money
 allocated,
 the
 numbers
 of

schools
and
health
centers
built,
the
number
of
children
enrolled
or
vaccinated,

the
 length
 of
 the
 roads
 built,
 and
 so
 forth.
 
 But
 as
 is
 being
 increasingly

recognized,
 simply
 having
 access
 to
 services
 is
 not
 enough,
 if
 the
 quality
 of
 the

service
 remains
 poor.
 Take
 elementary
 education,
 for
 instance.
 As
 we
 saw
 in

Chapter
 2,
 on
 major
 indicators
 of
 access
 such
 as
 enrollment,
 India
 performs

reasonably
 well.
 However,
 its
 poor
 performance
 on
 indicators
 for
 learning

achievement
 and
 dropout
 rates
 indicate
 that
 access
 has
 not
 resulted
 in

improvements
 in
 literacy
 levels,
 which
 is
 ultimately
 the
 longer‐term
 objective.

For
service
quality
to
improve,
it
is
imperative
that
there
be
a
shift
in
orientation

from
 targets
 based
 on
 inputs
 and
 short
 term
 outputs,
 to
 a
 focus
 on
 outcomes.

Outcome
goals
must
not
only
be
clearly
identified,
but
also
be
made
accessible
to

citizens
across
the
service
delivery
chain.

Only
then
will
it
be
feasible
for
citizens

to
 track
 progress
 on
 these
 outcomes
 and
 hold
 policy
 makers,
 line
 departments

and
service
providers
to
account.






























































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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


2.
Clear
lines
of
accountability
and
rational
delegation
of
roles:
Accountability

requires
that
roles
and
responsibilities
be
delegated
such
that
there
is
no
overlap

of
 administrative
 boundaries,
 and
 such
 that
 specific
 levels
 of
 government
 and

specific
 service
 provider
 can
 be
 held
 accountable
 for
 performance
 of
 specific

functions.

As
discussed
in
chapter
2,
there
currently
exists
a
significant
overlap

of
 roles,
 responsibilities
 across
 functionaries,
 government
 departments
 and

jurisdictions.
The
ASHA
in
NRHM,
for
instance,
is
accountable
not
just
to
the
GP

but
also
to
the
multiple
line
departments
at
the
state
government
level.
There
is

overlapping
of
jurisdictions
in
Education
sector
as
well.
In
Madhya
Pradesh
and

Chattisgarh
elementary
education
is
the
responsibility
of
multiple
departments,

with
schools
being
run
by
the
Education
Department,
the
SSA
program,
as
well
as

the
Tribal
Welfare
Department.

In
such
an
environment,
lines
of
accountability

are
 obfuscated
 and
 hence
 difficult
 to
 track,
 and
 there
 is
 tendency
 among

governments
 and
 service
 providers
 to
 free
 ride.
 Citizens
 in
 this
 scenario
 are

unable
 to
 demand
 accountability,
 as
 they
 simply
 do
 not
 know
 whom
 to
 hold

responsible
for
the
delivery
of
services.




For
accountability
to
be
feasible,
therefore,
roles
and
responsibilities
themselves

need
 to
 be
 unbundled,
 and
 clearly
 delineated.
 Further,
 an
 internal
 distinction

could
be
enforced
between
the
entity
that
sets
goals,
determines
the
finances,
and

monitors
and
evaluates
outcomes
and
the
entity
that
directly
provides
the
service.

Such
a
separation
creates
clearer
lines
of
accountability
and
in
so
doing
ensures

that
the
incentives
for
performance
are
clearly
aligned,
and
there
is
no
conflict
of

interest
between
performance
and
monitoring.


Unbundling
of
roles
and
responsibilities
can
be
done
by
breaking
down
sectors

into
detailed
sub‐sectors,
and
then
sub‐sectors
into
identifiable
activities.

There

are,
 at
 a
 minimum
 six
 separate
 kind
 of
 activities
 within
 any
 given
 sub‐sector11.


These
include:


• Setting
objectives
and
standards
of
service

• Planning

• Asset
creation


























































11
World
Bank,
2006,
Development
Policy
Review



 33

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


• Operation
(non‐staff)

• Operation
(staff)

• Monitoring
and
Evaluation

Once
 unbundled,
 the
 key
 challenge
 then
 in
 the
 allocation
 of
 roles
 and

responsibilities
is
the
identification
of
a
rational
basis
on
which
delegation
is
to

be
undertaken.
There
are
three
key
points
that
could
serve
as
guiding
principles

here12:


a)
 Degree
 of
 discretion:
 A
 discretionary
 activity
 is
 one
 in
 which
 the
 successful

delivery
of
a
service
requires
the
provider
to
adapt
to
local
conditions
instead
of

providing
 the
 same
 thing
 every
 time.
 For
 instance,
 teaching
 in
 a
 classroom
 is
 a

discretionary
activity.
The
teacher
has
to
continually
adapt
her
teaching
pace
and

methods,
 according
 to
 her
 observation
 of
 how
 much
 the
 students
 are
 able
 to

grasp
 the
 concepts.
 An
 official
 sitting
 at
 the
 district
 or
 state
 level
 cannot

determine
these
aspects,
as
he
simply
does
not
have
the
information
necessary

to
do
it.
Curriculum
design,
on
the
other
hand
is
not
a
discretionary
activity,
as
it

can
be
done
by
trained
officials
working
within
fairly
set
parameters.
Similarly,

curative
 health
 care
 in
 a
 doctor’s
 clinic
 is
 a
 discretionary
 activity,
 whereas

vaccination
is
not.



Discretionary
activities
should
be
delegated
to
local
level
front‐line
staff
as
it
is

they
 who
 have
 the
 information
 to
 deliver
 it
 right.
 But
 in
 order
 for
 them
 to
 do

their
 job
 properly,
 they
 need
 to
 be
 given
 enough
 powers
 and
 resources‐

including
some
flexibility
over
budgets
so
that
the
nature
of
the
activity
can
be

adjusted
 to
 adapt
 to
 local
 conditions.
 So
 for
 instance,
 if
 a
 teacher
 requires

innovative
 learning
 materials
 to
 enhance
 the
 learning
 levels
 in
 the
 class,
 there

should
be
enough
leeway
in
the
system
for
such
discretion
to
be
encouraged
and

accommodated.


b)
 Degree
 of
 transaction
 intensity:
 Transaction
 intensive
 activities
 require



repeated
 transactions
 between
 the
 service
 provider
 and
 the
 citizens.
 Using
 the

example
as
above,
both
teaching
in
a
classroom
and
administering
vaccinations


























































12
Pritchett,
L.,
and
Woolcock,
M.,
2002,
‘Solutions
When
the
Solution
is
the
Problem:
Arraying
the
Disarray

in
Development’,
Center
for
Global
Development
Working
Paper
No.
10.
Available
at

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1106236




 34

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


are
 transaction
 intensive
 activities.
 These
 activities
 are
 by
 nature
 devolved
 to

local
 levels,
 and
 information
 at
 these
 levels
 is
 best
 observed
 by
 the
 citizens

themselves
–
parents
and
patients
are
best
placed
to
judge
teachers
and
doctors

by
 virtue
 of
 their
 proximity
 to
 and
 information
 about
 performance
 by
 teachers

and
 doctors.
 The
 greater
 the
 transaction
 intensity,
 therefore,
 the
 greater
 the

need
for
local
monitoring
and
control.


c)
Ability
to
observe
performance:
Where
can
performance
be
best
monitored?
If

the
activity
requires
technical
expertise,
performance
is
best
judged
by
experts.

But
if
the
activity
is
simple
and
with
easily
identifiable
performance
indicators,

local
level
monitoring
is
best.
Continuing
with
the
education
example,
curriculum

development
 is
 a
 technical
 exercise
 and
 may
 require
 expert
 evaluation,
 but

monitoring
 teacher
 presence
 and
 children’s
 learning
 achievement
 is
 best
 done

locally
by
the
parents.
However,
such
monitoring
is
not
always
straightforward

and
 information
 about
 performance
 needs
 me
 to
 be
 made
 available,
 and
 local

capacities
 need
 to
 be
 built
 for
 it
 to
 be
 done
 effectively.
 We
 pick
 up
 on
 these

points
below.


The
 following
 table
 illustrates
 activities
 under
 different
 services
 according
 to

transaction
intensiveness
and
discretion
involved
in
their
delivery.


Source:
World
Development
Report
2004:
Making
Services
Work
for
Poor
People



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


When
 applied,
 these
 principles
 will
 give
 different
 answers
 for
 different
 sectors

and
functions.
This
will
ensure
that
there
is
a
rational
basis
upon
which
roles
and

responsibilities
are
allocated
and
ensure
that
the
level
of
government
best
suited

to
ensuring
accountability
for
the
production
of
a
service,
is
responsible
for
that

service.




3.
 Autonomy
 of
 the
 service
 provider:
 With
 clearly
 articulated
 roles
 and

responsibilities
 and
 performance
 targets,
 front
 line
 service
 providers
 can
 be

empowered
to
take
decisions
and
innovate
with
mechanisms
for
the
provision
of

services
 based
 on
 local
 conditions.
 As
 we
 noted
 above,
 the
 actual
 provision
 of

services
involves
a
number
of
discretionary
and
transaction
intensive
tasks
that

require
 local
 level
 decision‐making
 and
 innovation.
 It
 is
 only
 when
 frontline

service
 providers
 are
 given
 this
 autonomy
 that
 they
 will
 be
 in
 a
 position
 to

effectively
 tailor
 resource
 allocations
 to
 suit
 citizen
 needs
 and
 preferences
 and

hence
 be
 held
 accountable
 by
 them.
 For
 autonomy
 to
 be
 realized,
 service

providers
 must
 have
 discretion
 over
 the
 utilization
 of
 funds
 transferred.
 In

Chapter
2,
we
saw
that
typically
funds
come
to
the
local
governments
and
service

provision
units
tied
to
specific
norms
and
criterions
determined
by
the
central
or

state
 government.
 These
 are
 often
 at
 odds
 with
 local
 needs
 resulting
 in

inefficiencies
 and
 wastage
 and
 accountability
 is
 severely
 compromised.

Discretion
or
autonomy
to
determine
resource
allocation
is
an
essential
element

of
an
accountable
system.


4.
Generation
of
better
quality
information
and
performance
benchmarking:

Information
lies
at
the
crux
of
an
accountable
system.
Information
performs
two

crucial
functions:
first,
it
facilitates
citizen
mobilization
and
engagement
with
the

state,
 a
 point
 to
 which
 we
 shall
 return
 in
 greater
 detail
 in
 the
 discussion
 to

follow.
But
second,
and
importantly
from
the
perspective
of
institutional
design,

generation
 of
 reliable
 information
 on
 process,
 quality,
 and
 outcomes
 of
 service

delivery
helps
strengthen
accountability
even
within
the
system.
Information
on

performance
 and
 outcomes
 and
 service
 quality
 levels
 enables
 policymakers
 to

make
effective
plans,
to
link
resource
allocation
with
realities
on
the
ground,
to

benchmark
and
monitor
performance,
and
ensure
that
resources
are
being
spent

well,
and
hence
ensure
accountability.



 36

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Information
vacuum
in
the
Indian
Water
and
Sanitation
Utility
Sector


Indian
Water
and
Sanitation
utilities
are
not
required
to
report
on
their
service
quality
levels
to

the
 public
 and
 so
 seldom
 do.
 Internal
 accountability
 works
 best
 when
 it
 is
 supplemented
 by

external
 pressure
 to
 perform
 and
 be
 accountable.
 
 However,
 in
 the
 absence
 of
 any
 available

reports
 in
 the
 public
 domain,
 citizens,
 although
 severely
 inconvenienced
 by
 poor
 service

delivery,
 have
 little
 understanding
 of
 the
 reasons
 for
 this
 situation,
 and
 hence
 of
 the
 specific

manner
 in
 which
 they
 might
 exert
 pressure
 on
 the
 utilities
 to
 improve
 performance.
 This

effectively
undermines
public
accountability
of
the
utilities.


Perhaps
more
importantly,
because
neither
the
service
providers
nor
the
sectoral
policymakers

are
required
to
report
on
efficiency
and
service
levels,
the
utilities
are
failing
to
measure,
record

and
analyse
operational
data
that
is
crucial
to
understanding
the
quality,
reach
and
efficiency
of

delivery
 at
 the
 local
 level.
 Benchmarking
 of
 performance
 levels
 is
 critical
 to
 micro‐level

management
of
the
utilities,
and
reliable
and
comprehensive
aggregate
data
enable
policymakers

to
assess
the
performance
and
investment
needs
of
the
water
and
sanitation
sector
as
a
whole
at

regional
and
national
levels.
Absence
of
such
data
seriously
hampers
performance
of
the
utilities,

and
the
sector.



In
sum,
there
is
a
major
information
vacuum
in
the
Indian
urban
water
and
sanitation
sector:
the

absence
of
relevant,
reliable
and
regular
information
for
performance
benchmarking,
and
hence

to
guide
improvement,
and
the
lack
of
disclosure
of
such
information,
which
could
serve
as
basis

for
public
accountability.


Internationally,
 on
 the
 other
 hand,
 a
 growing
 number
 of
 developed
 and
 developing
 countries

require
their
UWSS
utilities
to
regularly
give
a
public
account
of
how
they
are
performing
against

statutory
 service
 standards,
 and/
 or
 the
 service
 levels
 and
 targets
 they
 have
 committed
 to
 in

their
 operating
 licenses.
 In
 fact,
 mandatory
 reporting
 of
 a
 variety
 of
 financial,
 operational,

service‐quality
and
customer
responsiveness
indicators
is
the
primary
tool
by
which
regulators

in
 these
 countries
 have
 measured
 and
 compelled
 improvements
 in
 utility
 performance
 and

financial
 efficiency.
 OFWAT
 in
 the
 United
 Kingdom,
 for
 example,
 has
 chosen
 to
 track
 seven

‘quality
 service’
 indicators
 and
 uses
 this
 data
 to
 report
 annually
 to
 the
 public
 on
 the
 levels
 of

service
being
delivered
by
the
country’s
water
and
sanitation
utilities.
It
also
reports
on
utilities’

performance
 on
 these
 indicators
 for
 the
 previous
 fifteen
 years,
 rating
 each
 as
 ‘Above
 Average’,

‘Average’,
‘Below
Average’,
or
‘Needs
Improvement’.
More
recently,
regulators
abroad
have
also

begun
 to
 include
 measures
 that
 gauge
 the
 efficiency
 with
 which
 utilities
 are
 drawing
 and

distributing
(scarce)
water
and
treating/
recycling
wastewater,
so
as
to
ensure
the
sustainability

of
 local
 sources
 by
 minimizing
 environmental
 damage.
 In
 water‐short
 Australia,
 for
 instance,

regulatory
 efforts
 now
 accord
 priority
 to
 nudging
 improvements
 in
 water
 efficiency,

conservation,
and
re‐use.



As
 a
 result
 of
 these
 measures,
 providers
 continually
 enhance
 performance
 to
 build
 credibility

with
customers,
policy
makers,
and
investors,
and
to
win
or
sustain
municipal
operating
licenses.

On
the
other
hand
agglomeration
and
analysis
of
the
information
(whether
by
sector
regulators,

policy‐makers,
utility
managers,
or
civil
society
groups)
creates
a
detailed
‘map’
of
utility
assets,

service
 levels,
 and
 performance
 on
 the
 ground.
 And
 this
 ‘map’
 is
 as
 useful
 to
 policy‐maker
 in

assessing
 and
 improving
 sector
 performance,
 as
 it
 is
 to
 citizens
 in
 understanding
 the
 reasons

behind
 specific
 service
 delivery
 shortcomings
 and
 in
 pressuring
 targeted
 improvements
 and

investments.



To
address
the
problems
with
the
Indian
UWSS,
therefore,
it
is
vital
that
they
too
be
encouraged

to
continually
collect
this
essential
data,
and
regularly
report
it
to
all
stakeholders.
In
addition
the

reporting
indicators
need
to
be
simple
and
impactful
–
so
that
utilities
can
comply,
and
citizens

comprehend
and
act
upon
reported
data.
This
will
enable
citizens
and
policymakers
not
only
to

better
hold
utilities
to
account,
but
also
facilitate
the
development
of
more
holistic,
efficient,
and

sustainable
solutions
to
current
service
shortcomings.


Source:
 Requiring
 Indian
 Utilities
 to
 Report:
 Harnessing
 Disclosure
 Legislation
 to
 Improve
 Water

and
Sanitation
Service,
Accountability
Initiative
Policy
Paper
1,
April
2009,
by
Premila
Nazareth



 37

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


5.
Aligning
incentives
with
performance:
Arguably,
one
of
the
biggest
problems

with
much
of
our
service
delivery
system
is
the
disconnect
between
performance

and
 pay.
 In
 many
 of
 the
 better
 performing
 systems
 around
 the
 world,
 money

follows
the
service
user,
and
hence
the
provider
has
an
incentive
to
perform
and

keep
 the
 user
 happy.
 In
 India
 on
 the
 other
 hand,
 owing
 to
 bad
 policy
 and

politicization
of
recruitment
and
management
processes,
the
providers
get
their

salaries
 regardless
 of
 their
 performance,
 leaving
 little
 incentive
 for
 them
 to

perform.
While
solutions
that
entail
creating
market‐like
competition
have
their

pros
 and
 cons,
 some
 form
 of
 alignment
 of
 incentives
 with
 performance
 is

imperative
 if
 the
 problems
 like
 absenteeism,
 indifference
 and
 lack
 of
 effort
 by

providers
like
doctors
and
teachers
is
to
be
addressed.
Equally
important
is
the

will
and
ability
of
the
state
to
effectively
enforce
sanctions
on
erring
officials.


Money
follows
the
patient:
linking
pay
to
performance:


If
pay
if
linked
to
performance,
and
if
monitoring
at
local
level
is
complemented
by
power
to
hire

and
 fire
 the
 staff
 at
 local
 level,
 the
 incentive
 to
 show‐up
 and
 perform
 can
 be
 expected
 to
 be

radically
 improved.
 In
 the
 current
 system,
 this
 is
 either
 not
 happening,
 or
 happening
 on
 a
 very

limited
 scale.
 In
 Education,
 for
 instance,
 in
 most
 states,
 the
 GP
 in
 collaboration
 with
 the
 VECs

have
 the
 power
 only
 to
 hire
 para‐
 teachers,
 while
 the
 full‐time
 teachers
 are
 still
 a
 state

prerogative.
Similarly,
hiring
and
firing
of
the
doctors
is
at
the
state
level,
and
thus
far
removed

from
 where
 the
 monitoring
 is
 occurring
 (at
 the
 village
 level).
 This
 is
 in
 contrast
 to
 some
 of
 the

better
performing
service
delivery
systems
–
like
health
systems
in
Western
Europe:
doctors
are

paid
 according
 to
 the
 number
 of
 patients
 they
 attract,
 which
 is
 a
 function
 of
 the
 quality
 of

treatment
 they
 provide.
 The
 money,
 in
 other
 words,
 follows
 the
 patient.
 If
 the
 doctor
 performs

poorly,
or
is
even
discourteous,
patients
do
not
come
and
hence
the
pay
is
affected.
This
turns
the

accountability
structure
on
its
head,
and
the
doctor
is
compelled
to
perform
his
duties
with
the

patients’
 interest
 at
 heart.
 Having
 a
 fixed
 salary
 regardless
 of
 performance,
 in
 comparison,
 is

predictably
leading
to
much
of
the
indifference
and
absenteeism
among
doctors
and
the
staff.


Decentralization:
An
opportunity
to
strengthen
accountability


Like
 we
 mentioned
 before,
 some
 aspects
 of
 institutional
 design
 that
 we
 raised

above
have
been
taken
on
board
in
the
73rd
and
74th
Amendments
to
the
Indian

Constitution
that
sought
to
strengthen
accountability
by
decentralizing
power
to

smaller,
 local
 units
 of
 government13.
 The
 process
 of
 devolution
 of
 power,

however,
 has
 proceeded
 unevenly
 with
 political
 decentralization
 (elections
 to

local
 bodies)
 running
 far
 ahead
 of
 administrative
 decentralization‐
 where


























































13
The
emphasis
in
this
note
is
on
rural
decentralization
(Panchayati
Raj)
largely
because
of
the
rural
focus
of
this

paper.
However,
the
same
principals
would
apply
to
the
urban
sector
as
well.



 38

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


functions,
funds
and
functionaries
(3Fs)
are
yet
to
be
devolved
adequately.
The

rationale
 for
 decentralization
 stems
 from
 the
 assumption
 that
 bringing

governments
 closer
 to
 people,
 enhances
 accountability
 by
 more
 accurately

reflecting
 citizen
 needs
 and
 preferences
 and
 crucially,
 making
 it
 easier
 for

citizens
 to
 monitor
 performance
 and
 thereby
 demand
 accountability.
 Yet,
 all

would
 agree,
 that
 decentralization
 is
 no
 panacea.
 After
 all,
 simply
 pumping

greater
resources
into
local
governments
without
systematic
reforms
is
unlikely

to
 have
 an
 impact.
 Decentralization
 however,
 precisely
 because
 of
 its
 logic
 of

bringing
 governments
 closer
 to
 people,
 offers
 an
 important
 opportunity
 for

undertaking
 reforms
 for
 greater
 accountability
 to
 the
 people
 –
 provided
 the

design
is
right.



So
what
are
the
features
of
a
well‐designed
decentralized
system
of
government?


Functions


The
 first
 step
 towards
 developing
 a
 well‐


Managing
Elementary
Education
in
the

designed
 decentralized
 system
 of
 United
States­
Clear
allocation
of

functional
responsibilities

government
 is
 the
 clear
 allocation
 of

The
10th
amendment
of
the
US
constitution

functional
 responsibilities
 across
 tiers
 of
 mandated
the
evolution
of
a
decentralized

education
system
where
the
states
and

government
 or
 ‘activity
 mapping’.
 In
 2004,
 districts
assume
a
primary
role
in
the

organization
and
operation
of
schools.

the
 Government
 of
 India’s
 Ministry
 of
 State
governments:
State
governments

have
legislative
and
regulative

Panchayati
 Raj
 attempted
 to
 push
 state
 responsibilities
for
the
operation
of

schools.
Each
state
has
a
department
of

governments
 to
 undertake
 this
 activity
 education
headed
by
the
chief
State
School

Officer
who
is
responsible
for
all
activities

mapping.
 The
 activity
 mapping
 process
 has
 related
to
the
provision
of
elementary

education.
The
officers
duties
include,

largely
 been
 unsatisfactory.
 
 Although
 most
 distributing
state
funds,
interpreting
laws,

certifying
teachers
and
maintaining

standards.

state
have
unbundled
subjects
in
to
activities,

Local
Authorities:
Each
state
is
divided
in

the
 assignment
 of
 these
 activities
 to
 tiers
 of
 to
local
administrative
districts
with
the

authority
to
establish
and
regulate
public

government
 does
 not
 reflect
 any
 rational
 schools.
The
school
districts
are
governed

by
a
board
of
education
usually
appointed

considerations.
 Consequently,
 it
 remains
 ad
 by
government
officials
or
elected
by

citizens.
The
schools
are
operated
by

district
staff.
School
board
duties
include

hoc
at
best.

 preparing
annual
budgets,
hiring
teachers,

purchasing
equipment,
monitoring

process.



Federal
Government:
Provides
broad

leadership
without
undue
control.
The


 Federal
Government
has
a
legal

responsibility
to
safeguard
the
rights
of

citizens
to
free
public
institutions
and

equal
opportunity
in
the
pursuit
of

learning.
The
federal
government
also


 supports
the
improvement
of
learning
by
 39

funding
research,
direct
aid
to
students

and
the
dissemination
of
knowledge
about

teaching
and
learning.

AI
Policy
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2,
October
2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Funds


The
 first
 principles
 articulated
 above,
 offer
 one
 possible
 framework
 for

developing
 a
 coherent,
 rational
 activity
 map
 for
 the
 devolution
 of
 roles
 and

responsibilities
 such
 that
 accountability
 is
 strengthened.
 However,
 as
 the
 first

principles
 themselves
 indicate,
 functions
 are
 the
 first
 step.
 For
 local
 bodies
 to

perform
 their
 functions
 effectively,
 they
 must
 be
 allocated
 the
 relevant
 powers

and
 resources.
 This
 involves
 systemic
 reforms
 in
 the
 manner
 of
 fiscal
 transfers

from
 the
 central
 and
 state
 governments
 to
 local
 bodies.
 Key
 reforms
 could

include:


• Broaden
 the
 tax
 base
 and
 user
 charges
 levied
 by
 local
 bodies:
 This
 would

involve
 systemic
 changes
 in
 both
 policies
 and
 institutions
 to
 build

capacities
 to
 design
 administer
 and
 enforce
 existing
 gram
 panchayat

taxes.
 Specifically,
 there
 is
 a
 need
 to
 broaden
 the
 tax
 base
 by
 including

more
 remunerative
 revenue
 sources
 such
 as
 land
 revenue;
 improve
 the

policy
 environment
 for
 property
 taxes
 and
 improve
 the
 design
 of

collection
 of
 property
 taxes
 as
 some
 of
 the
 key
 areas
 that
 could
 help

towards
strengthening
the
revenue
raising
capacities
of
PRIs.


• Moving
funding
design
from
tied
schemes
to
untied
themes:
The
Ministry
of

Panchayati
Raj
has
long
been
pushing
for
a
‘Panchayat
Sector’
budget
line

item
 into
 which
 funds
 transferred
 to
 Panchayats
 would
 be
 deposited.

Funds
 allocated
 from
 different
 departments
 should
 be
 parked
 in
 the

Panchayat
 sector
 budget
 through
 the
 finance
 departments.
 The

Government
of
Kerala
has
successfully
experimented
with
this.
Kerala
has

developed
a
separate
Panchayat
budget
annex
in
its
annual
state
budget.

Funds
 are
 released
 through
 the
 Finance
 department
 of
 the
 state.
 This

ought
to
be
scaled
up
all
across
the
country.


Such
 a
 system
 will
 ensure
 that
 funds
 are
 not
 received
 ‘schematically’.

Rather
they
can
be
bundled
together
in
themes,
so
that
PRIs
can
allocate

funds
 to
 their
 highest
 priority.
 The
 Government
 of
 Sikkim
 has

experimented
 with
 this
 process
 to
 a
 considerable
 degree
 of
 success.
 
 In

Sikkim,
the
Rural
Development
Department
sends
out
Rs.
50
Lakh
to
Zilla



 40

AI
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2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Parishads
 and
 Rs.
 10
 Lakh
 to
 Gram
 Panchayats
 and
 gives
 a
 broad

indication
 of
 the
 various
 kinds
 of
 things
 on
 which
 the
 money
 could
 be

spent
 on
 and
 an
 indicative
 list
 of
 the
 proportion
 in
 which
 these
 untied

funds
should
be
allocated
in
these
broad
categories,
with
the
note
that
if

the
 panchayat
 concerned
 wishes
 to
 vary
 the
 percentages
 it
 can
 do
 so
 in

consultation
with
the
state
rural
development
departments.



• Transparent
 and
 Accountable
 Information
 Systems:
 Building
 a
 reliable



information
 system
 is
 critical
 to
 designing
 an
 efficient
 and
 equalizing

fiscal
 decentralized
 system.
 Steps
 in
 this
 direction
 could
 include

redesigning
 the
 accounting
 and
 budgeting
 system;
 improving
 the

management
structure
and
ensuring
the
timely
consolidation
of
accounts.



Functionaries:



The
issue
of
functionaries
is
somewhat
more
complicated
than
that
of
functions

and
funds
due
to
legal
constraints.



PRIs
to
be
appointing
authority:
PRIs
ought
to
have
their
own
cadre
of
employees

with
powers
to
hire
and
fire
staff.
To
facilitate
this
process,
the
state
government

ought
 to
 create
 a
 list
 of
 empanelled
 officials
 from
 the
 central
 and
 state
 cadres

from
 which
 PRIs
 can
 draw
 requisite
 staff.
 However,
 even
 in
 this
 case,
 the

provisions
 of
 article
 311
 would
 extend
 to
 Panchayat
 employees
 creating

conditions
of
weak
incentives
and
poor
performance,
similar
to
those
at
the
state

and
center.
This
brings
us
to
our
second
recommendation.



PRIs
to
hire
employees
on
a
contractual
basis:
Such
contracts
would
be
renewable

subject
to
satisfactory
performance.
In
addition,
PRIs
should
be
able
to
outsource

technical
expertise
on
a
needs
basis
(both
from
higher
tiers
of
government
and

the
 private
 sector).
 This
 would
 allow
 PRIs
 to
 fulfill
 their
 administrative
 needs

through
a
system
that
encourages
accountability.
Some
states
such
as
Karnataka

where
 GPs
 are
 allowed
 to
 contract
 engineers
 from
 a
 district
 pool
 of
 engineers

have
experimented
with
this
idea.
These
experiments
have
had
some
measure
of

success
and
could
be
extended
to
PRIs
across
the
country.



 41

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Contracting
up
for
better
health
care:
The
case
of
the
District
Rahim
Yar
Khan,
Punjab,

Pakistan



One
way
of
addressing
the
many
failures
of
primary
health
care
in
India
is
to
allow
Gram

Panchayat’s
to
enter
in
to
contracts
with
doctors‐
public
or
private‐
to
make
regular
visits
in
the

village.
Under
these
contracts,
payments
are
conditional
on
performance.
So
if
the
doctor
doesn’t

show
up,
he/she
doesn’t
get
paid.
Accountability
is
enforced
annually
by
the
conditional
renewal

of
contracts
and
weekly
by
withheld
pay
if
the
doctor
doesn’t
show
up.
To
ensure
quality,
the

state
government
can
develop
a
list
of
accredited
doctors
that
the
Panchayat
can
access.



The
option
of
‘contracting
up’
has
been
experimented
with
some
degree
of
success
in
the
district

of
Rahim
Yar
Khan,
Punjab,
Pakistan.
The
main
features
of
the
program
were
that
agreements

were
made
with
the
doctors
to
serve
three
Basic
Health
Units
and
to
visit
each
at
specified
times.

Their
pay
was
doubled
but
since
they
were
covering
more
facilities,
the
program
was
cost‐
neutral
at
worst.
Attendance
was
easily
monitored
since
the
designated
day
of
the
visit
was

clearly
specified.
The
results
appear
to
be
quite
impressive.
Facility
utilization
increased

dramatically.
People
were
able
to
predict
when
centers
would
be
open
and
not
waste
a
day
from

work
with
the
risky
prospect
that
the
doctor
would
not
be
there.


Source:
 Hammer,
 Aiyar,
 Samji
 ‘Bottoms
 Up,
 to
 the
 role
 of
 Panchayati
 Raj
 in
 Health
 and
 Health

Services’,
World
Bank
2006


Capacity
Building


The
 problem
 of
 weak
 capacity
 amongst
 local
 PRI
 representatives
 is
 well

recognized.
 Most
 PRI
 representatives
 (particularly
 women
 and
 SC/STs
 that
 are

elected
 through
 the
 reservation
 policy)
 have
 little
 prior
 experience
 or

understanding
 of
 the
 governance
 system.
 Since
 the
 ratification
 of
 the
 73rd
 and

74th
 Amendments,
 both
 government
 and
 NGOs
 have
 been
 actively
 involved
 in

addressing
 the
 capacity
 gap.
 Most
 states
 in
 India
 have
 established
 a
 State

Institute
of
Rural
Development
(SIRD)
with
the
specific
mandate
of
training
PRI

representatives.
This
is
complemented
by
the
work
of
NGO’s
that
have
developed

innovative
 training
 methods,
 including
 the
 facilitation
 of
 networks
 of
 elected

women
representatives,
to
supplement
government
training
inputs.



Despite
 these
 efforts,
 a
 consistent
 implementation
 and
 support
 plan
 for
 local

governments
 is
 yet
 to
 evolve.
 Capacity
 inputs
 at
 present
 tend
 to
 focus
 on
 the

sectoral
 capabilities
 rather
 than
 strengthening
 their
 capacities
 to
 perform

functions
 generic
 to
 local
 governments.
 These
 include
 capacities
 for
 financial

management
 (planning,
 budgeting,
 and
 accounting),
 procurement
 procedures,

conflict
 resolution
 and
 performance
 monitoring.
 Training
 inputs
 in
 these
 more

generic,
multi‐sectoral
functions
could
help
fill
some
of
the
key
training
gaps
and

allow
local
bodies
to
handle
resources
whatever
their
purpose.




 42

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


However,
capacity
cannot
be
built
in
a
vacuum.
It
is
important
to
recognize
that

local
 governments
 lack
 capacity
 in
 part,
 because
 they
 lack
 the
 authority
 and

autonomy
to
operate
as
autonomous
units
of
government
and
hence
are
unable

to
 fulfill
 their
 mandates.
 Recent
 analysis
 of
 local
 organizations
 suggests
 that

financial
 assets
 are
 a
 necessary
 condition
 for
 good
 performance.
 Capacity
 is

endogenous
and
resources
are
a
necessary
pre‐requisite
for
strengthening
local

government
 performance.
 In
 order
 for
 capacity
 building
 initiatives
 to
 be

successful
 therefore
 they
 need
 to
 be
 part
 of
 a
 carefully
 sequenced
 devolution

process
that
strengthens
power
and
resources
available
to
local
bodies
alongside

with
strengthening
their
capability
to
manage
these
resources.



Strengthening
 the
 role
 of
 community
 based
 organizations
 to
 improve



accountability:


The
 push
 toward
 decentralized
 government
 reform
 in
 India
 in
 the
 early
 1990s

was
 accompanied
 by
 a
 parallel
 movement
 that
 privileged
 another
 kind
 of
 local

organization
as
a
key
actor
in
rural
development:
user
and
community
groups.
It

is
 argued
 that
 the
 rural
 poor
 can
 be
 empowered
 both
 individually
 and

collectively
 through
 the
 creation
 of
 social
 capital.
 User
 groups
 are
 typically

formed
 vertically—i.e.,
 they
 are
 sector
 specific
 (watershed
 development,
 rural

water
supply,
education),
often
outside
formal
government
structures,
and
part

of
 a
 scheme‐
 or
 project‐specific
 design
 (created
 by
 a
 line
 agency
 or
 society).

There
are
few
serious
links
(often
only
a
dotted
line)
between
the
user
group
and

the
 local
 government.
 Thus
 two
 institutional
 arrangements
 (the
 PRIs,

municipalities
 and
 the
 user
 groups)
 coexist,
 creating
 multiple
 institutional

arrangements
 for
 service
 delivery
 at
 the
 village
 level.
 Most
 observers
 today

believe
that
the
two
approaches
to
local
governance
need
convergence,
drawing

on
the
strengths
of
both
approaches
while
avoiding
the
weaknesses
of
each.




The
 strength
 of
 decentralization
 through
 PRIs
 lies
 in
 the
 fact
 that
 they
 are
 the

legally
 grounded
 representative
 institution
 at
 the
 grassroots.
 However,
 in
 the

absence
 of
 effective
 checks
 and
 balances,
 these
 institutions
 are
 susceptible
 to

elite
 capture,
 political
 exclusion,
 and
 corruption.
 The
 user
 group
 approach
 is

advantageous
because
it
encourages
an
inclusive
decision‐making
process
at
the



 43

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


local
 level
 by
 directly
 targeting
 the
 poor.
 It
 enhances
 project
 effectiveness

because
 it
 contributes
 to
 a
 greater
 sense
 of
 ownership
 and
 commitment
 to

project
 objectives.
 Crucially,
 recent
 analysis
 suggests
 that
 membership
 in
 user

groups
 contributes
 positively
 to
 participation
 in
 the
 Gram
 Sabha,
 thereby

directly
affecting
the
voice
element
of
accountability
relationships.



Strengthening
 user
 groups
 and
 converging
 them
 with
 the
 formal
 local

government
 structures
 is
 an
 essential
 first
 step.
 In
 some
 states,
 in
 the
 SSA

program,
this
is
already
being
done
and
the
Panchayat
president
is
invariably
a

co‐signatory
 on
 cheques
 and
 other
 financial
 decisions
 taken
 by
 the
 VEC.
 
 One

draw
back
of
this
arrangement,
as
discussed,
is
that
in
many
cases,
the
Panchayat

president,
lacks
the
incentives
to
involve
the
VECs
in
decision
making
related
to

the
 school.
 Moreover,
 in
 many
 instances,
 VEC
 members
 themselves
 remain

unaware
 of
 their
 positions,
 roles
 and
 responsibilities
 and
 for
 all
 practical

purposes,
the
VEC
remains
defunct
and
the
Panchayat
president
and
headmaster

take
 all
 decisions.
 Capacity
 building
 of
 community
 groups
 such
 that
 CBOs,
 is

essential.
We
discuss
these
in
the
next
chapter.



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Chapter
 4.
 Towards
 a
 framework
 for
 social
 accountability
 –
 2:




strengthening
citizen
voice


In
the
last
chapter,
we
discussed
how
to
get
the
institutional
design
right,
which

addresses
 the
 compact
 part
 of
 the
 Social
 Accountability
 framework.
 In
 this

chapter
 we
 discuss
 the
 other
 half
 of
 the
 framework,
 which
 is
 strengthening

citizen
 voice
 so
 that
 the
 citizens
 can
 draw
 upon
 the
 system
 better
 to
 hold
 it

accountable.


Social
Accountability
efforts
by
the
citizens
involve
the
use
of
a
variety
of
tools.

World
 over,
 there
 are
 a
 multitude
 of
 tools
 that
 citizen
 groups
 have
 been

experimenting
 with
 to
 engage
 with
 the
 state
 and
 demand
 accountability.
 The

strategic
 focus
 of
 these
 tools
 varies:
 some
 are
 aimed
 at
 improving
 citizen

participation
 in
 decisions
 that
 affect
 their
 lives,
 some
 at
 ensuring
 transparency

and
 checking
 corruption,
 some
 are
 geared
 towards
 generating
 information
 for

policy
 lobbying
 and
 advocacy,
 and
 some
 focus
 on
 capacity
 building
 to
 create
 an

enabling
 environment
 for
 citizen
 action.
 Social
 Accountability
 tools
 can
 also
 be

implemented
at
different
levels
in
the
service
delivery
chain.
For
instance,
some

tools
 aim
 to
 strengthen
 citizen
 awareness
 and
 mobilize
 citizens
 to
 access

information
 on
 various
 aspects
 of
 service
 delivery,
 others
 aim
 at
 monitoring

procedural
compliance
while
still
others
aim
at
monitoring
outcomes.
Tools
can

also
 be
 retrospective
 or
 prospective
 depending
 on
 whether
 they
 aim
 to

enhancing
 accountability
 in
 process
 and
 outcomes
 versus
 accountability
 in

planning.
In
this
chapter
we
try
and
identify
ways
in
which
the
state
can
facilitate

such
 citizen
 action
 for
 accountability
 –
 i.e.,
 the
 voice
 component
 of
 the
 social

accountability.
 While
 for
 particular
 government
 programs
 there
 are
 particular

ways
in
which
this
is
to
be
done,
from
a
general
policy
perspective,
there
are
two

aspects
to
addressing
this
question:


1.
 First
 is
 the
 question
 of
 what
 can
 the
 state
 do
 to
 institute
 mechanisms
 that

facilitate
the
strengthening
of
citizen
voice
more
generally


2.
Second
is
to
identify
some
parameters/guidelines
about
what
kind
of
tool
can

be
instituted
where



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


4.1
Creating
an
enabling
environment
for
strengthening
citizen
voice:


In
this
section
we
discuss
the
preconditions
for
successful
deployment
of
social

accountability
tools
by
citizens,
with
a
view
to
identifying
what
the
state
can
do

to
facilitate
these
conditions.
While
specific
tools
can
have
specific
requisites,
the

following
four
are
necessary
preconditions
of
most
Social
Accountability
tools:



1. Information
generation,
access
and
dissemination


2. Community
mobilization
and
capacity
building


3. Grievance
redressal
and



4. Institutionalization


These
are
illustrated
in
the
figure
below:



Fig:
Preconditions
and
building
blocks
for
success
of
social
accountability

efforts


1.
Information
Generation,
Access
and
Dissemination:



As
 we
 have
 emphasized
 before,
 information
 lies
 at
 the
 heart
 of
 accountability.

For
citizen
groups
to
effectively
perform
their
pro‐accountability
functions,
they

first
need
to
know
what
to
expect
from
their
government,
as
well
as
what
service



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


quality
 levels
 are
 in
 practice,
 so
 that
 they
 can
 judge
 the
 performance
 for

themselves
 and
 apply
 pressures
 in
 a
 targeted
 manner.
 On
 state’s
 part
 this

requires,
in
the
first
instance,
ascertaining
and
publishing
target
levels
of
service

quality
 indicators
 in
 the
 form
 of
 –
 for
 instance
 –
 citizen
 charters,
 and
 then

continually
 collecting
 data
 on
 performance
 along
 these
 indicators
 in
 practice.

Crucially,
 the
 collected
 information
 has
 to
 be
 placed
 in
 the
 public
 domain
 with

free
 access
 for
 interested
 citizens.
 It
 has
 to
 be
 in
 a
 demystified,
 easy‐to‐
understand
 form
 so
 that
 non‐specialist
 citizens
 can
 also
 make
 sense
 of
 it.
 The

3Rs
of
information
are
key:
regular,
reliable
and
relevant.


Making
the
Right
to
Information
Act
work


The
 RTI
 Act
 provides
 the
 institutional
 framework
 that
 begins
 to
 address
 some
 of
 these

requirements.
 Especially
 Section
 4
 of
 the
 RTI
 Act
 mandates
 that
 the
 governments
 proactively

report
 information
 relevant
 to
 the
 public,
 including
 details
 on
 budgets,
 subsidies,
 key
 policy

decisions,
functions,
duties
and
so
on.
Despite
the
fact
that
this
is
a
mandatory
requirement,
few

public
authorities
have
followed
it
in
the
earnest.
Further,
access
to
complex
budget
documents

or
 audit
 reports
 will
 play
 a
 limited
 role
 in
 strengthening
 accountability
 as
 they
 are
 barely

comprehensible
 to
 an
 average
 citizen.
 If
 these
 reports
 are
 de‐mystified,
 using
 a
 non‐technical

vocabulary,
they
can
be
made
relevant
to
citizens
who
can
then
use
it
to
enforce
accountability

better.



For
information
to
be
meaningful
to
citizens
and
lend
itself
towards
accountability,
steps
can
be

taken
 to
 improve
 mechanisms
 for
 reporting
 information.
 For
 instance,
 information
 on
 service

quality
levels
and
citizen
satisfaction
levels
are
arguably
more
relevant
forms
of
information
for

social
 accountability
 rather
 than,
 say,
 length
 of
 water
 pipes
 laid
 in
 a
 particular
 quarter.
 Stricter

adherence
 to
 the
 requirements
 under
 the
 RTI
 Act
 could
 address
 the
 information
 problems

substantially.
 Some
 steps
 to
 strengthening
 Section
 4
 of
 the
 RTI
 could
 include:
 making
 it

mandatory
 for
 all
 government
 departments
 to
 appoint
 a
 public
 information
 officer
 with
 the

exclusive
charge
of
ensuring
compliance
with
section
4
norms;
creating
a
body
of
best
practice
on

mechanisms
 for
 disclosure;
 incentivizing
 the
 system
 by
 instituting
 awards
 for
 best
 practice
 on

section
4
compliance
and
lastly,
Information
Commissions
could
create
a
rating
system
for
rating

government
 departments
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 section
 4
 compliance
 and
 widely
 disseminating
 this

information.


A
 related
 point
 is
 about
 information
 dissemination
 and
 citizen
 awareness.
 To

elicit
meaningful
participation
from
the
citizens,
it
is
fundamental
that
they
are

first
made
aware
of
what
they
are
entitled
to
under
various
government
schemes

and
 provisions.
 Lack
 of
 awareness
 as
 we
 saw
 in
 Chapter
 2
 is
 at
 the
 heart
 of
 so

many
 accountability
 failures
 in
 service
 delivery.
 It
 is
 not
 enough
 then
 to

formulate
 the
 schemes,
 the
 government
 has
 to
 proactively
 disseminate

information
 about
 these
 schemes
 and
 raise
 local
 awareness
 on
 local
 issues.

Community
 Radio
 is
 one
 innovative
 and
 cost
 effective
 way
 in
 which
 to
 do
 this.



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Other
solutions
like
citizen
helplines,
mass
media
campaigns,
information
kiosks,

and
other
e‐tools
must
be
actively
encouraged.


Community
Radio
for
Information
Dissemination


Community
radio
is
an
interactive
communication
tool
that
uses
the
radio
as
a
principle
means
to

disseminate
 information
 about
 government
 schemes
 and
 programs
 to
 local
 audiences.
 It
 is
 an

extremely
useful
mechanism
to
disseminate
information
to
rural
audiences
as
well
as
functioning

as
 a
 platform
 for
 listeners
 to
 share
 their
 views
 and
 ideas.
 In
 many
 instances,
 community
 radio

initiatives
 are
 owned
 and
 managed
 by
 particular
 communities
 wherein
 the
 content
 of
 radio

programs
is
determined
by
the
local
community.
Community
radio
initiatives
can
thus
be
useful

in
tackling
local
issues
and
problems
that
are
relevant
to
the
local
community.
The
key
objectives

of
community
radio
initiatives
are
as
follows:



• To
 create
 awareness
 amongst
 local
 communities
 about
 different
 government
 schemes

and
programs;

• To
use
the
awareness
so
generated
to
mobilise
citizen
action
towards
improving
public

service
delivery;

• To
 create
 a
 platform
 for
 the
 listeners
 to
 share
 their
 views
 and
 that
 facilitates
 two
 way

communications
between
citizens
and
service
providers.

In
 2001,
 Alternative
 for
 India
 Development
 (AID),
 an
 NGO
 working
 in
 Jharkhand
 launched
 a

community
 radio
 program
 Chala
 Ho
 Gaon
 Mein
 (Let
 us
 go
 to
 the
 village).
 The
 program
 was

launched
 to
 train
 the
 local
 community
 to
 develop
 radio
 programs
 on
 issues
 most
 relevant
 to

them
and
has
been
airing
through
the
radio
(FM
channel
of
AIR).
The
program
has
been
running

successfully
 on
 the
 AIR
 for
 the
 last
 6
 years.
 Issues
 related
 to
 the
 functioning
 of
 schools,
 health

centres,
PDS,
Anganwadi
(child
care)
centres
are
the
focus
of
the
discussion
The
radio
programs

are
 backed
 on
 the
 ground
 with
 the
 formation
 of
 Village
 Listener’s
 clubs
 and
 Self
 Help
 Groups

(SHGs)
 so
 that
 local
 communities
 can
 use
 the
 information
 being
 provided
 by
 the
 community

radio
 to
 demand
 better
 services
 from
 local
 service
 providers.
 Anecdotal
 evidence
 suggests
 that

the
radio
programs
have
catalysed
the
community
to
successfully
get
hold
of
job
cards
in
NREGS,

remove
a
school
teacher
who
did
not
perform
his
duty
and
improving
services
in
some
PHC’s.




2.
Citizen
Mobilization
and
Capacity
Building:
Citizen
mobilization
lies
at
the

heart
of
all
social
accountability
initiatives.
In
its
essence,
social
accountability
is

about
 citizens
 demanding
 and
 directly
 participating
 in
 exacting
 accountability.

Most
 initiatives
 themselves
 are
 premised
 on
 the
 assumption
 that
 access
 to

information
 and
 the
 creation
 of
 platforms
 for
 direct
 engagement
 with
 the
 state

can
 catalyze
 mobilization
 and
 collective
 action
 for
 change.
 However,
 this
 does

not
 occur
 automatically.
 Significant
 time
 and
 effort
 is
 required
 to
 facilitate

mobilization.
Mobilization
itself
can
take
different
forms
and
has
different
entry

points.
 In
 some
 instances
 it
 requires
 intensive
 work
 by
 NGOs
 and
 local

organizations
 that
 work
 with
 communities.
 Alternatively,
 the
 presence
 of
 local



level
 organization
 such
 as
 community
 based
 organizations
 (CBOs)
 could
 be

mobilized
 to
 catalyze
 collective
 action.
 Crucially,
 the
 Gram
 Sabhas
 (GSs)
 and

ward
 sabhas
 offer
 an
 important
 entry
 point
 for
 strengthening
 community



 48

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


mobilization.
 As
 has
 been
 discussed
 earlier
 in
 the
 paper,
 the
 73rd
 and
 74th

amendment
 mandate
 regular
 meetings
 of
 the
 gram
 sabha
 and
 ward
 sabhas.

While
 at
 present
 both
 these
 forums
 are
 relatively
 weak,
 efforts
 can
 be

undertaken
 to
 improve
 the
 quality
 of
 participation
 in
 the
 sabhas.
 
 Capacity

building
is
crucial.
This
can
be
achieved
through
scaling
up
the
role
of
state
level

training
institutions
such
as
SIRDs
and
NGOs
by:
(i)
improving
current
training

modules
to
focus
on
the
issue
of
GS
participation,
(ii)
raising
awareness
both
at

the
Panchayat
and
citizen
level
on
the
need
and
importance
of
Gram
Sabhas,
and

(iii)
mobilizing
CBOs
around
the
issue
of
holding
Gram
Sabhas.




3.
 Grievance
 Redressal:
 One
 of
 the
 more
 crucial
 preconditions
 for

accountability
 to
 obtain
 is
 the
 presence
 of
 state
 apparatus
 for
 redressal
 of

grievances
 as
 gleaned
 from
 the
 use
 of
 social
 accountability
 tools.
 For
 collective

action
 to
 emerge
 and
 sustain,
 citizens
 need
 to
 have
 the
 confidence
 in
 the
 state

that
 the
 misdoings
 exposed,
 or
 the
 grievances
 emerging
 from
 their
 use
 of
 the

social
accountability
tool
will
be
followed
up
and
acted
upon
by
the
state
in
the

form
 of
 corrective
 action
 being
 taken,
 perpetrators
 being
 punished,
 or
 policy

being
amended,
as
the
case
maybe.



To
inspire
such
confidence,
it
is
imperative
that
the
state
invests
in
an
effective

grievance
 redressal
 apparatus
 to
 ensure
 citizen
 grievances
 are
 redressed
 in
 a

timely
 and
 effective
 manner.
 This
 could
 take
 the
 form
 of
 an
 online
 grievance

redressal
 mechanism
 of
 the
 Municipality
 to
 fix
 complaints
 about
 potholes,

leaking
sewerage
pipes
etc,
or
transparent,
strict
and
unfailing
sanctions
against

erring
 service
 providers,
 or
 for
 instance
 in
 the
 case
 of
 social
 audits,
 this
 could

involve
 institutionalized
 mechanisms
 for
 faster
 justiciability
 of
 discrepancies

brought
to
light
at
the
public
hearing,
maybe
exploring
something
along
the
lines

of
a
Lok
Adalat
for
Social
Accountability
cases,
and
so
on.


Rajkot
Municipal
Corporation:
On­line
Grievance
Redressal
&
Feedback



Recently,
a
unique
citizen‐friendly
SMS‐based
grievance
redressal
system
for
civic
problems
has

been
initiated
in
the
city
of
Rajkot,
Gujarat.


In
this
system,
citizens
can
lodge
complaints
through
a
call
centre,
where
they
are
logged
into
the

Management
 Information
 System
 of
 the
 RMC.
 Engineers
 on
 the
 ground
 instantly
 get
 SMSs

informing
 them
 of
 these
 complaints
 and
 once
 they
 are
 resolved,
 they
 can
 SMS
 this
 back
 to
 the

Management
 system.
 This
 system
 does
 away
 with
 a
 lot
 of
 unnecessary
 paperwork
 and
 helps



 49

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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


engineers
 identify
 and
 tackle
 complaints
 efficiently.
 Complaints
 need
 to
 be
 resolved
 in
 a
 time

bound
 manner,
 failing
 which
 SMSs
 are
 sent
 out
 to
 the
 immediate
 senior
 officials
 in‐charge.
 The

performance
 of
 each
 individual
 official
 in‐charge
 of
 complaints
 can
 be
 viewed
 within
 the
 MIS

(and
is
available
to
the
Citizen's
via
the
RTI
Act),
in
terms
of
the
speed
with
which
complaints
are

resolved.
 To
 promote
 feedback
 and
 ascertain
 citizen
 satisfaction
 with
 this
 service,
 the
 RMC

website
 has
 a
 dedicated
 Citizen's
 Forum
 where
 people
 can
 go
 and
 make
 complaints
 and

suggestions
for
the
website
and
other
services.
These
are
actually
looked
at
on
a
bi‐weekly
basis

and
any
novel
ideas
are
adopted.

Also,
the
call
centre
selects
a
few
complainants
and
calls
them

to
gauge
their
levels
of
satisfaction
about
the
service
provided
by
the
RMC
periodically.


4.
Feedback
and
Institutionalization:
For
the
individual
corrective
actions,
and

sporadic
 deployment
 of
 social
 accountability
 tools
 to
 result
 in
 sustainable

improvements
 in
 accountability,
 there
 needs
 to
 be
 some
 form
 of
 institutional

support
that
guarantees
the
deployment,
and
facilitates
the
process
of
the
tools

at
 regular
 intervals.
 Such
 institutional
 support,
 apart
 from
 signaling
 the
 state’s

real
 commitment
 to
 citizen
 engagement,
 also
 bodes
 well
 for
 the
 long‐term

sustainability
 of
 the
 social
 accountability
 efforts,
 which
 are
 otherwise
 based

solely
on
voluntary
collective
action
by
concerned
citizens.
The
Andhra
model
of

institutionalized
 Social
 Audits
 could
 be
 instructive
 here.
 We
 discuss
 this
 in

greater
detail
in
Chapter
6.


4.2
Social
Accountability
tools:


In
this
section
we
discuss
how
the
state
can
begin
to
think
about
integrating
into

its
 programs,
 specific
 tools
 used
 by
 citizen
 groups
 in
 their
 social
 accountability

efforts.
 As
 we
 noted
 before,
 there
 are
 a
 multitude
 of
 tools
 that
 citizen
 groups

around
 the
 world
 have
 been
 employing
 in
 demanding
 accountability
 from
 the

state.
There
are
multiple
ways
in
which
to
map
this
milieu
of
initiatives.
Here
we

present
 one
 way
 of
 grouping
 them
 ‐
 according
 to
 the
 stage
 of
 service
 delivery

that
the
efforts
entailed
in
the
tool
are
aimed
at
addressing.
This
of
course
risks

oversimplifying
 what
 is
 often
 a
 complex
 and
 overlapping
 terrain,
 but
 our

objective
here
is
simply
to
try
and
give
some
sense
of
coherence
to
the
range
and

variety
of
efforts.
Importantly,
this
kind
of
classification
also
provides
one
way
of

thinking
 about
 what
 possible
 tools
 the
 government
 could
 incorporate
 into
 its

programs
according
to
the
specific
stage
of
service
delivery
in
question.




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The
 table
 below
 unbundles
 service
 delivery
 chain
 into
 different
 stages,
 and

identifies
some
examples
of
SAc
tools
that
can
been
used
in
these
stages:


Stage
of
Service
Delivery
 Some
Examples
of
Social
Accountability
Tools

Used


Planning
and
Design
 ‐Participatory
Budgeting


‐Participatory
Planning


Implementation
and
Process
Monitoring
 ‐Public
Expenditure
Tracking
Surveys
(PETS)


‐Social
Audits


Outcome
Evaluation
 ‐Citizen
Report
Cards
(CRCs)


‐Participatory
Research
for
Evaluating
Outcomes



For
the
sake
of
continuity,
we
have
put
the
discussion
on
the
details
of
each
tool

in
 Appendix
 1.
 There
 we
 provide
 a
 brief
 overview
 of
 each
 of
 these
 tools
 with

their
particular
strengths,
weaknesses
for
each
tool,
we
also
provide
a
short
case

study
where
it
has
been
successfully
deployed.
In
the
rest
of
this
section
we
take

up
 the
 crucial
 exercise
 of
 articulating
 a
 framework
 on
 how
 to
 start
 thinking

about
 what
 tool
 to
 apply
 where
 and
 when.
 Just
 to
 reiterate
 what
 we
 said
 in

Chapter
1,
inherent
to
such
advice
is
the
caveat
that
no
one
size
fits
all,
and
the

choice
 of
 tool
 in
 a
 given
 context
 is
 entirely
 defined
 by
 the
 context
 itself.
 For

instance,
 take
 the
 contrast
 between
 Public
 Distribution
 Systems
 (PDS)
 in
 Delhi

and
Tamil
Nadu.
In
Delhi,
the
NGO
Parivartan
had
to
invoke
RTI
Act
to
expose
the

corruption
 and
 misappropriation
 of
 food
 meant
 for
 the
 poor,
 whereas
 in
 Tamil

Nadu,
NGOs
did
not
have
to
resort
to
this
strategy
as
political
competition
serves

as
 the
 ‘instrument
 of
 accountability’
 there,
 with
 PDS
 being
 an
 electorally

sensitive
issue14.
An
instructive
example
of
fitting
the
context
with
the
tool
is
the

‘adaptability/fit’
 process
 that
 the
 Public
 Affairs
 Centre
 (PAC)
 in
 Bangalore

follows
 to
 evaluate
 whether
 a
 given
 context
 warrants
 the
 Citizen
 Report
 Card

approach.
 This
 evaluation
 is
 done
 along
 8
 critical
 factors
 ‐
 including
 political

context,
 extent
 of
 decentralization
 of
 utilities,
 feasibility
 of
 seeking
 public

feedback,
presence
or
activist
independent
and
non‐partisan
CSOs
in
the
region,



























































14Jayal,
N.,
2008,
‘New
Directions
in
Theorizing
Social
Accountability?’
IDS
Bulletin
38(6):
105‐110



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Institutionalizing
Social
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survey
and
research
competencies,
quality
of
the
media
to
publicize
the
findings,

and
 ultimately
 responsiveness
 of
 service
 providers
 –
 all
 of
 which
 are
 crucial
 to

determining
 the
 suitability,
 and
 chances
 of
 success,
 of
 the
 CRC
 methodology15.

Drawing
 on
 this
 process,
 we
 attempt
 here
 to
 identify
 some
 broad
 parameters

that
 can
 act
 as
 guiding
 principles
 when
 thinking
 about
 applying
 accountability

tools.


Which
 tool
 to
 apply
 where?
 Social
 Accountability
 Tools
 and
 Context

Specificity


When
designing
a
social
accountability
initiative,
the
following
key
principles
can

be
kept
in
mind
while
identifying
specific
accountability
tools:


1. Identify
 the
 nature
 of
 the
 accountability
 problem:
 As
 has
 been

discussed
 and
 demonstrated
 in
 the
 previous
 sections,
 accountability

failures
 are
 the
 product
 of
 a
 number
 of
 factors
 that
 have
 been
 broadly

classified
as
voice
and
compact.
The
extent
and
nature
of
these
problems

varies
across
contexts,
sectors
and
design
strategies.
For
instance,
in
the

case
 of
 education,
 while
 there
 are
 problems
 related
 to
 corruption
 and

misuse
 of
 funds
 at
 the
 school
 level,
 the
 bigger
 factor
 responsible
 for

accountability
failures
relates
to
poor
teaching
quality,
problems
in
fund

flows
 and
 poor
 planning,
 particularly
 at
 the
 school
 level.
 In
 such

circumstances,
 social
 accountability
 efforts
 could
 focus
 on
 teacher

accountability
through
outcome
monitoring
(learning
levels)
and
tracking

teacher
 presence.
 Additionally,
 efforts
 at
 strengthening
 local
 level

planning
 through
 the
 VECs
 can
 go
 a
 long
 way
 in
 strengthening

accountability.
On
the
other
hand,
in
the
primary
health
sector
corruption,

particularly
in
procurement
is
rife.
Procedural
compliance
is
important
in

these
 cases
 to
 address
 the
 corruption
 problem.
 In
 such
 instances,
 social

audits
 can
 go
 a
 long
 way
 in
 strengthening
 accountability.
 The
 same

applies
 to
 public
 works
 programs
 such
 as
 the
 NREGA
 where
 lack
 of



























































15
Thampi,
G.,
2008,
Accountability
Initiative
Discussion
Series,
Engaging
with
Accountability:
Session
2
–
Scope

and
Challenges
to
assessing,
replicating
and
scaling
up
accountability
work.


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Institutionalizing
Social
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transparency
 can
 result
 in
 serious
 corruption
 and
 malfeasance
 with



labourers
being
denied
their
rightful
wages.
Here
too,
social
audits
are
an

important
 mechanism
 of
 strengthening
 accountability.
 
 An
 important

point
 to
 remember
 is
 that
 tools
 are
 not
 exclusive.
 Often
 times,

accountability
 failures
 are
 the
 result
 of
 a
 multiplicity
 of
 factors
 each
 of

which
 requires
 a
 different
 strategy
 or
 a
 combination
 of
 strategies
 and

tools.
 So,
 when
 analyzing
 the
 nature
 of
 the
 problem
 and
 trying
 to
 ‘fit’
 a

tool,
it
is
important
to
think
about
what
combinations
of
tools
could
come

together
to
strengthen
social
accountability.


2. Assess
 the
 level
 of
 community
 mobilization:
 The
 social
 and
 political

context
of
an
area
is
also
an
important
factor
to
consider
when
identifying

accountability
 tools.
 
 In
 contexts
 such
 as
 Kerala
 where
 mobilization
 and

awareness
 levels
 are
 high
 and
 there
 is
 a
 history
 of
 sustained
 interaction

between
 citizens
 and
 government
 particularly
 at
 the
 local
 level,
 the

nature
of
the
tool
and
the
method
of
implementation
would
be
somewhat

different
from
Bihar
where
awareness
needs
to
be
raised
in
the
first
place.

In
 Kerala,
 for
 instance,
 capacity
 building
 on
 merely
 the
 use
 of
 a
 specific

tool
 might
 be
 enough
 to
 generate
 the
 momentum
 necessary
 for
 the

successful
 implementation
 of
 the
 tool.
 On
 the
 other
 hand,
 in
 Bihar
 or

Uttrakhand
where
awareness
levels
are
low
and
power
dynamics
heavily

skewed
 in
 favour
 of
 the
 elite,
 intensive
 mobilization
 and
 support
 is

crucial.
 In
 such
 an
 environment
 it
 is
 essential
 to
 take
 steps
 to
 create
 an

atmosphere
in
which
the
poorest
and
most
disempowered
can
participate

and
 speak
 freely
 in
 public
 platforms.
 In
 such
 contexts,
 the
 presence
 of

local
level
NGOs
that
work
directly
with
people
is
a
pre‐requisite
for
the

successful
implementation
of
social
accountability
tools.



3. Assess
 the
 extent
 of
 civil
 society
 presence:
 As
 has
 already
 been

discussed,
civil
society
plays
and
important
role
in
the
implementation
of

social
accountability
tools.
The
presence
of
civil
society
is
crucial
both
for

mobilization
 as
 well
 as
 to
 ensure
 the
 objectivity
 and
 neutrality
 of
 the

social
 accountability
 process.
 
 Social
 accountability
 initiatives
 are
 thus

more
likely
to
be
successful
in
areas
where
there
is
a
strong
civil
society



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Social
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presence.
 The
 specific
 nature
 of
 the
 tool
 is
 also
 dependent
 on
 the

presence
of
civil
society
in
the
area.
Where
civil
society
presence
is
weak,

social
 accountability
 efforts
 can
 concentrate
 more
 on
 information

generation
 and
 capacity
 building
 of
 local
 institutions
 be
 it
 the
 Gram

Sabha,
the
VEC
or
the
VHC
to
understand
their
roles
and
responsibilities,

garner
 information
 of
 performance
 of
 local
 governments,
 schools
 and

health
centers
and
participate
effectively
in
planning
and
monitoring.
This

could
 be
 the
 first
 step
 towards
 catalyzing
 mobilization
 for
 greater

accountability.


4.
 Assess
 the
 skills
 required
 and
 skills
 available
 for
 the

implementation
 of
 a
 specific
 tool:
 Different
 tools
 require
 different
 skill

sets.
 For
 instance,
 expenditure
 tracking
 and
 satisfaction
 surveys
 require

high
 level
 statistical
 skills
 that
 is
 often
 beyond
 the
 capacity
 both
 of

community
 based
 organizations
 and
 local
 civil
 society
 groups
 as
 these

skill
sets
tend
to
remain
concentrated
in
research
organizations
of
urban

NGOs.
 Thus
 the
 implementation
 of
 tools
 that
 require
 these
 skills

necessitates
support
and
intervention
by
external,
facilitating
NGOs.
The

feasibility
of
these
interventions
are
often
context
driven
and
will
need
to

be
assessed
prior
to
determining
the
specific
nature
of
the
accountability

tool.



The
table
below
illustrates
how
these
general
points
of
consideration
translate
to

prerequisites
and
building
blocks
for
the
successful
deployment
of
specific
social

accountability
tools
(that
are
described
in
Appendix
1.)


Social
Accountability
Tools
 Pre­requisites
for
successful
implementation



 

Participatory
Planning,
Participatory
 • Bureaucratic
 buy‐in,
 and
 government
 commitment

Budgeting
 that
village
level
plans
are
reflected
in
district
level

plans

• Strong
 local
 governments
 with
 access
 to
 funds
 and

functionaries

• Presence
 of
 platforms
 for
 participation,
 such
 as

Gram
Sabha
and
CBOs


• Mobilization
 of
 citizens
 to
 facilitate
 informed
 and

meaningful
participation


• Access
 to
 information
 on
 funds
 available
 and

expenditure
 patterns
 at
 local
 government
 level
 and

service
delivery
units
across
financial
years



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• Access
 to
 information
 about
 roles
 and



responsibilities
 of
 local
 bodies
 and
 service
 delivery

units



 

Public
Expenditure
Tracking
Surveys
 • Access
to
expenditure
data

(PETS)
 • Access
 to
 government
 records
 including
 vouchers,

audit
reports,
utilization
certificates
and
so
on


• Adequate
 funding
 and
 technical
 support
 including

statistical
skills

• Sound
 understanding
 of
 public
 expenditure

management
systems



 

Social
Audits
 • Access
 to
 government
 records
 including
 vouchers,

muster
rolls

• Bureaucratic
 buy‐in
 to
 facilitate
 easy
 information

access
and
ensure
grievance
redressal

• Strong
 presence
 of
 civil
 society
 to
 facilitate

mobilization
 of
 citizens
 to
 participate,
 and
 interact

with
government
officials



 

Citizen
Report
Cards
(CRCs)
 • Technical
 expertise
 to
 design,
 execute
 and
 analyze

the
survey

• Independent
 media
 and
 civil
 society
 organizations

to
disseminate
findings

• Effective
 feedback
 mechanisms
to
 ensure
 follow‐up

of
findings



 

Participatory
Research
for
Tracking
 • Developing
 simple,
 relevant
 and
 quantifiable

Outcomes
 indicators
against
which
outcomes
can
be
measured


• Technical
 expertise
 to
 design
 and
 analyze
 the

survey

• Presence
of
local
level
civil
society
organizations
to

conduct
the
surveys

• Independent
 media
 and
 civil
 society
 organizations

to
disseminate
findings




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Chapter
5.
Social
Accountability
Initiatives:
Challenges
and
Vulnerabilities


In
 opening
 up
 spaces
 for
 the
 poorest
 and
 most
 disempowered
 to
 participate
 in

governance
 processes
 to
 demand
 answers
 and
 claim
 their
 rights,
 Social

Accountability
 initiatives
 present
 an
 inherent
 challenge
 to
 deeply
 entrenched

power
 relations
 in
 the
 system.
 For
 this
 reason
 they
 are
 subject
 to
 many

vulnerabilities
and
challenges.
Some
of
these
include:


Resistance
 to
 reform,
 risk
 of
 collusion
 and
 co­option:
 Since
 Social

Accountability
 initiatives
 upset
 the
 vested
 interests
 who
 have
 an
 incentive
 to

maintain
the
status
quo,
there
is
much
resistance
to
reform,
and
always
a
risk
of

collusion
 between
 various
 actors
 that
 can
 reduce
 the
 initiative
 to
 a
 fraudulent,

ghost
exercise.
One
glaring
form
of
this
collusion
is
falsely
claiming
on
paper
that

an
 initiative
 has
 been
 conducted
 without
 actually
 conducting
 it.
 Other
 more

subtle
forms
of
collusion
include
data
manipulation
and
deliberate
dereliction
of

duties.
 Resistance
 to
 reform
 can
 result
 in
 vested
 interests
 withholding
 crucial

information
 or
 providing
 inadequate
 information
 –
 such
 as
 budget
 documents,

procurement
 vouchers
 and
 other
 records
 –
 necessary
 for
 the
 conduct
 of
 many

Social
 Accountability
 initiatives.
 
 
 One
 example
 of
 this
 is
 the
 case
 of
 efforts
 by

Rozgaar
Evum
Soochna
Abhiyaan,
a
network
of
NGOs
in
Rajasthan
that
attempted

to
 conduct
 a
 social
 audit
 on
 the
 NREGA
 project
 in
 Jhalawar
 and
 Banswara

districts
 in
 Rajasthan
 in
 December
 2007
 and
 January
 2008.
 There
 was
 much

internal
resistance
within
the
local
bureaucracy
and
panchayats
preventing
them

from
accessing
information
necessary
to
conduct
that
audit.
In
Banswara
district

the
Social
Audit
had
to
be
aborted,
while
in
Jhalawar
information
was
provided

only
after
weeks
of
sustained
protest.


Often
times,
citizens
are
themselves
co‐opted
by
those
from
whom
accountability

is
demanded.
This
kind
of
complicity
can
result
in
citizens
not
speak
up
against

corruption,
 and
 refusing
 to
 co‐operate
 in
 Social
 Accountability
 efforts.
 This

usually
happens
either
when
powerful
members
of
the
community
are
co‐opted

into
 the
 system,
 or
 in
 rare
 cases
 where
 an
 entire
 community
 stands
 to
 benefit

from
the
spoils
of
corruption
and
malfeasance.



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Disruption
 by
 powerful
 vested
 interests:
 Apart
 from
 the
 risks
 of
 collusion,

citizens
 engaged
 in
 Social
 Accountability
 initiatives
 risk
 being
 threatened
 and

coerced
by
entrenched
vested
interests,
particularly
local
power
blocks
that
have

benefitted
 from
 the
 lack
 of
 accountability
 in
 government
 systems.
 Threats
 and

coercion
can
result
in
communities
becoming
hesitant
to
directly
participate
and

speak
 up
 in
 Social
 Accountability
 initiatives.
 Such
 lack
 of
 participation
 can

severely
undermine
the
effectiveness
of
Social
Accountability.
After
all,
it
is
only

if
communities
are
willing
to
mobilize
around
information
generated
from
Social

Accountability
 initiatives,
 and
 through
 this
 mobilization
 publicly
 demand

answerability
 and
 action,
 that
 Social
 Accountability
 initiatives
 can
 have
 an

impact.


Lack
 of
 support
 from
 government
 agencies,
 and
 lack
 of
 effective
 grievance

redressal:
 
 As
 has
 been
 discussed,
 bureaucratic
 buy‐in
 and
 timely,
 strict
 and

unfailing
 follow‐up
 action
 on
 Social
 Accountability
 findings
 through
 effective

grievance
redressal
mechanisms
is
crucial
to
the
success
of
Social
Accountability

initiatives.
If
citizens
are
to
be
expected
to
challenge
entrenched
power
dynamics

and
place
themselves
at
risk,
they
also
need
to
be
assured
that
governments
will

respond
 and
 address
 their
 grievances.
 The
 current
 lack
 of
 buy‐in
 among
 the

street‐level
 bureaucrats,
 and
 the
 ineffective
 state
 apparatus
 for
 grievance

redressal
can
serve
to
dissipate
the
strength
of
collective
action
needed
for
Social

Accountability.



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Chapter
 6.
 Institutionalizing
 Social
 Accountability:
 some
 policy



considerations
to
overcome
the
challenges
and
vulnerabilities


From
a
policy
perspective,
there
are
some
important
steps
that
government
can

take
to
overcome
the
challenges
and
vulnerabilities
associated
with
undertaking

Social
Accountability
initiatives.
These
include:


1.
 Making
 Social
 Accountability
 mandatory
 in
 policy
 design:
 Reforms
 of
 the

state
 can
 have
 a
 significant
 impact
 on
 the
 incentives
 faced
 by
 citizens
 in
 their

action
for
accountability.
In
particular,
participation
and
collective
action
by
the

citizens
is
especially
forthcoming
when
people
have
a
legal
right
to
participate.

This
 is
 because
 legal
 rights
 create
 collective
 interests
 that
 cut
 across
 social

divisions,
hence
making
it
possible
for
larger
collectives
to
form
and
mobilize16.

Legal
rights
also
provide
a
degree
of
legitimacy
–
the
rightfulness
of
one’s
claims

–
 that
 facilitates
 alliance
 building
 with
 other
 groups,
 and,
 importantly,
 this

acknowledgement
of
legitimacy
of
actions
by
the
citizens,
plus
state
policies
like

‘whistle
blower’
protection,
also
gives
them
the
confidence
to
overcome
possible

fears
 of
 repression
 by
 powerful
 vested
 interests
 both
 within
 and
 outside
 the

state
apparatus.


There
are
many
examples
where
citizen
participation
has
been
successful
when

mandated
in
policy.
The
success
of
People’s
Campaign
for
Decentralized
Planning

in
Kerala
has
been
attributed,
among
other
things,
to
the
significant
financial
and

functional
devolution
and
the
institutional
incentives
for
participation
which
led

to
increased
representation
of
hitherto
marginalised
voices
like
those
of
SCs,
STs

and
 women.
 Decentralization
 brings
 the
 state
 closer
 to
 the
 people,
 and

institutionalized
 participation
 creates
 ‘invited
 spaces’
 for
 citizens
 to
 come

together
and
participate
in
articulation
of
their
voices.
Another
example
of
good

policy
 in
 this
 respect
 is
 the
 NREGA,
 which
 in
 its
 guidelines,
 lays
 down
 in
 some

length
 the
 details
 of
 how
 exactly
 social
 accountability
 is
 to
 be
 ensured
 in
 the

program.



























































16
Joshi,
A.,
2008,
‘Producing
Social
Accountability?
The
Impact
of
Service
Delivery
Reforms’,
IDS
Bulletin
38(6):

10‐17



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Laying
down
in
law:
Social
Accountability
in
NREGA


To
 address
 the
 problems
 of
 corruption
 and
 mismanagement
 that
 have
 plagued
 earlier
 wage

employment
the
NREGA
sets
in
place
mechanisms
to
promote
accountability
and
transparency
in

implementation
 of
 the
 scheme
 –
 notably,
 by
 empowering
 panchayats
 to
 conduct
 regular
 social

audits
of
all
projects
being
undertaken
under
the
scheme.
The
Central
government
has
developed

a
set
of
Operational
Guidelines
that
facilitate
the
implementation
of
the
Act.

The
Guidelines
are

unique
 in
 that
 they
 require
 implementing
 authorities
 to
 comply
 with
 a
 set
 of
 transparency
 and

accountability
 provisions
 at
 every
 level
 of
 the
 programme.
 The
 NREGA
 Operational
 Guidelines

have
a
dedicated
chapter
on
accountability
and
spell
out
detailed
guidelines
on
transparency
for

implementing
authorities.



As
per
the
guidelines,
implementing
authorities
at
various
levels
must
ensure
strict
compliance

with
the
provisions
of
the
RTI
Act
which
include
ensuring
that:


• Requests
for
copies
of
documents
under
NREGA
are
complied
with
in
7
days;

• All
NREGA‐related
information
are
in
the
public
domain;

• Proactive
disclosure
of
key
information
and
documents
under
NREGA;

• Public
access
to
key
documents,
records
and
information
about
the
scheme
at
all
levels.
i.e.

updated
data
on
registration,
number
of
job
cards
issued,
list
of
beneficiaries,
funds
received

and
 spent,
 works
 sanctioned
 etc
 to
 be
 displayed
 outside
 the
 offices
 of
 all
 implementing

agencies;

• Public
display
of
names
and
contact
information
for
key
persons;

• Key
information
is

made
available
on
the
internet;

• Gram
Panchayat
accounts
are
proactively
displayed
and
updated
twice
a
year;

• Report
 cards
 on
 local
 works,
 employment
 and
 funds
 are
 posted
 outside
 the
 offices
 of

implementing
authorities
at
various
levels.


In
addition
to
these
there
are
other
guidelines
for
accountability
including:


• Preparation
of
Annual
Reports
by
Central
and
State
Governments

• Conduct
of
financial
audit
by
each
district;

• Conduct
of
physical
audit
to
verify
the
quality
of
work;

• Provision
of
action
on
audit
reports
by
the
State
Government;

• Development
of
a
model
Citizens
Charter;

• Setting
up
of
Vigilance
and
Monitoring
Committees;

• Setting
up
of
a
Grievance
Redressal
System;

• Regular
conduct
of
Social
Audits


In
this
way,
the
NREGA
Guidelines
clearly
spell
out
not
only
the
institutional
provisions
for
social

accountability
 under
 the
 program
 but
 also
 clearly
 define
 and
 outline
 the
 roles
 and

responsibilities
of
different
implementing
authorities
in
this
process.



In
 practice,
 the
 accountability
 provisions
 of
 the
 NREGA
 Guidelines
 have,

admittedly,
 been
 implemented
 with
 varying
 degrees
 of
 seriousness,
 with
 some

states
such
as
Rajasthan
and
Andhra
Pradesh
doing
better
than
others.

However,

as
 the
 box
 below
 elaborates,
 the
 unique
 efforts
 by
 Government
 of
 Andhra

Pradesh
to
institutionalize
the
conduct
of
social
audits
into
existing
machinery
of

the
 NREGA
 have
 had
 considerable
 success,
 which
 presents
 a
 model
 worth

replicating.



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Social
Accountability


Institutionalized
Social
Audits:
NREGA
in
Andhra
Pradesh



With
built‐in
features
like
decentralized
planning
and
implementation,
proactive
disclosures,
and

mandatory
social
audits
on
its
projects,
the
National
Rural
Employment
Guarantee
Act
(NREGA)

provides
 the
 catalyst
 for
 activist
 governments
 and
 civil
 society
 organizations
 to
 institutionalize

accountability
 tools
 in
 governance
 system.
 A
 remarkable
 instance
 of
 one
 such
 activist

government
 is
 Andhra
 Pradesh
 which
 has
 since
 the
 inception
 of
 the
 program
 in
 2006
 been

conducting
systematic
and
regular
social
audits
on
its
NREGA
works
across
the
state.



A
 strong
 political
 will
 and
 committed
 top‐level
 bureaucracy
 provided
 the
 impetus
 for
 this

venture.
The
institutional
space
for
developing
a
team
and
managing
the
social
audits
was
found

in
 the
 Strategy
 and
 Performance
 Innovation
 Unit
 (SPIU)
 of
 the
 Department
 of
 Rural

Development.
Between
March
and
July
2006,
the
Department
collaborated
with
MKSS,
the
civic

group
in
Rajasthan
that
pioneered
social
auditing
in
India,
to
hold
training
sessions
for
officials

and
 interested
 civil
 society
 activists,
 and
 to
 help
 with
 the
 design
 and
 conduct
 of
 pilot
 social

audits.
These
trainings
culminated
in
the
setting
up
of
strong
cadre
of
25‐member
state
resource

persons,
 drawn
 exclusively
 from
 the
 civil
 society,
 which
 is
 crucial
 to
 ensuring
 a
 high
 degree
 of

autonomy
 and
 objectivity
 in
 the
 exercise.
 In
 addition,
 260
 district‐level
 resource
 persons
 have

also
since
been
trained.
The
actual
audit
is
conducted
by
educated
youth
volunteers
in
the
village,

who
 are
 identified
 and
 trained
 by
 this
 pool
 of
 resource
 persons.
 The
 first
 social
 audit
 was

conducted
 in
 July
 2006.
 Since
 then,
 an
 average
 of
 54
 social
 audits
 are
 conducted
 every
 month

across
all
13
NREGA
districts.



This
is
a
unique
instance
in
that
nowhere
else
in
India
have
social
audits
taken
place
on
such
a

large
 scale
 with
 such
 frequency.
 And
 although
 research
 needs
 to
 address
 whether
 such
 deep

institutionalization
of
accountability
mechanisms
has
indeed
resulted
in
improved
accountability

in
service
delivery,
emerging
evidence
points
to
significant
and
lasting
improvements
in
citizens’

awareness
levels,
their
confidence
and
self‐respect,
and
importantly
their
ability
to
engage
with

local
officials.



2.
 Developing
 and
 monitoring
 norms
 and
 guidelines
 on
 what
 constitutes
 a

Social
Accountability
initiative:
Clear
and
precise
norms
and
guidelines
on
the

steps
 involved
 and
 mechanisms
 in
 conducting
 Social
 Accountability
 initiatives

can
 go
 a
 long
 way
 in
 preventing
 ghost
 initiatives
 and
 minimizing
 collusion.

However,
experience
shows
that
norms
and
rules
only
work
if
there
is
effective

monitoring.
 This
 could
 possibly
 explain
 why
 such
 detailed
 guidelines
 for

ensuring
 accountability
 in
 NREGA
 have
 been
 taken
 up
 with
 varying
 degree
 of

seriousness
across
the
states.



One
 way
 to
 ensure
 that
 principles
 are
 practiced
 could
 be
 through
 the

involvement
of
independent
agencies
or
NGOs
that
undertake
random
checks
to

ensure
 that
 norms
 and
 guidelines
 are
 being
 adhered
 to.
 The
 state
 and
 district

administration
 could
 also
 set
 up
 helplines
 and
 other
 grievance
 redressal
 cells

where
citizens
who
have
suffered
threats
or
coercion
from
vested
interests
can

safely
report
their
grievances.



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3.
Strengthening
section
4
of
the
RTI:
As
has
been
stressed
repeatedly
through

this
 paper,
 access
 to
 information
 is
 a
 critical
 precondition
 for
 any
 Social

Accountability
 initiative
 to
 be
 successful.
 Resistance
 to
 disclosure,
 and

insufficient
information
can
seriously
hamper
the
initiatives.
Section
4
of
the
RTI

Act
 that
 mandates
 proactive
 disclosure
 of
 information
 can
 go
 a
 long
 way
 in

addressing
 this
 vulnerability.
 However
 compliance
 on
 Section
 4
 among

government
 departments
 is
 found
 to
 be
 very
 poor.
 In
 addition
 to
 incentivizing

greater
 compliance
 through
 rankings
 and
 making
 funds
 contingent
 on

compliance,
perhaps
the
CAG
could
take
up
auditing
of
Section
4
Compliance
as

part
 of
 its
 regular
 financial
 audit
 of
 the
 departments.
 In
 addition
 the
 quality
 of

information
reported
also
needs
to
be
improved
so
that
it
is
relevant
and
reliable

to
 those
 that
 use
 it
 to
 seek
 accountability
 from
 the
 government.
 Here
 again,

departmental
rankings
could
be
used
to
incentivize
better
quality
reporting.



4.
Capacity
Building:
Collective
action
is
crucial
to
social
accountability
efforts,

and
 creation
 of
 CBOs
 entrusted
 with
 various
 aspects
 of
 decentralized
 service

delivery
is
a
good
first
step.
But
as
we
have
noted
throughout
this
paper,
capacity

building
 and
 awareness
 raising
 among
 these
 CBOs
 is
 critical
 for
 their
 effective

functioning,
and
the
state
can
do
a
lot
more
to
ensure
that
they
perform
well
in

the
 pro‐accountability
 functions
 expected
 of
 them.
 Regular
 training
 of
 the

members
in
VECs
and
VHCs,
creating
incentives
for
participation
in
the
meetings

and
Gram
Sabhas
need
to
be
taken
up
much
more
seriously.




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Appendix
1:
Social
Accountability
Tools


In
this
appendix
we
give
a
brief
overview
of
some
selected
social
accountability

tools,
grouped
according
to
the
stage
of
service
delivery
that
they
are
employed

in.
 For
 each
 of
 these
 tools
 we
 look
 at
 its
 particular
 strengths,
 weaknesses
 and

pre‐requisites,
 and
 also
 provide
 a
 short
 case
 study
 of
 where
 it
 has
 been

successfully
deployed


Planning
and
Design


Engaging
 local
 communities
 in
 the
 design
 and
 development
 of
 government

programs
is
widely
recognized
as
an
important
way
in
which
to
facilitate
citizen

voice
and
participation
at
the
local
level.
The
focus
on
citizen
participation
in
the

planning
 and
 implementation
 of
 government
 programs
 is
 also
 out
 of
 concerns

about
the
lack
of
transparency
and
accountability
in
the
local
allocation
of
funds

and
 resources.
 The
 73rd
 and
 74th
 Constitutional
 Amendments,
 provide
 a

framework
for
decentralized
planning
at
the
local
level
through
the
devolution
of

powers
to
Gram
Sabhas
and
district
planning
committees.
However,
in
practice,

there
is
need
to
focus
on
ways
to
strengthen
these
exercises
at
the
local
level.

In

this
 context,
 accountability
 tools
 such
 as
 participatory
 planning
 and

participatory
 budgeting
 can
 be
 effective
 instruments
 to
 facilitate
 citizen

engagement
in
the
planning
process
of
government
schemes
and
programmes.



i) Participatory
 Budgeting:
 Participatory
 Budgeting
 (PB)
 is
 a
 tool
 that



engages
 citizens
 in
 negotiations
 with
 public
 authorities
 over
 the

distribution
of
public
resources.

PB
provides
citizens
with
an
opportunity

to
 decide
 how
 and
 where
 public
 resources
 are
 spent.
 Most
 citizens
 who

participate
in
PB
are
low‐income
and
have
low
levels
of
formal
education.



These
groups
have
usually
been
excluded
from
making
budget
decisions

but
 PB
 programs
 enable
 them
 to
 make
 choices
 that
 affect
 how
 their

government
 acts.
 By
 engaging
 citizens
 in
 the
 budgeting
 process,
 PB

programs
 help
 promote
 greater
 transparency
 and
 also
 help
 reduce
 the

scope
 for
 corruption
 and
 mismanagement.
 PB
 was
 developed
 in
 Porto

Alegre,
Brazil
in
the
late
1980s

(see
Box
1)
and
has
since
been
applied
in



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


countries
 across
 the
 world
 facilitate
 people’s
 participation
 in
 planning



processes.


ii) Participatory
 Planning:
 Is
 a
 process
 whereby
 beneficiaries
 of

government
 programs
 are
 involved
 in
 the
 planning
 and
 design
 of

programme
 components.
 The
 aim
 of
 the
 participatory
 planning
 is
 to

determine
 local
 problems,
 priorities
 and
 solutions
 by
 involving
 local

communities
 in
 the
 planning
 process.
 Participatory
 planning
 at
 the
 local

level
involves
a
number
of
steps
including
appraisal,
needs
identification,

restitution,
 organization,
 planning,
 implementation
 and
 evaluation.


Participatory
Rural
Appraisal

and
Rapid
Rural
Appraisal
are
often
used
as

tools
to
engage
with
local
communities
in
this
process.



Together,
 participatory
 budgeting
 and
 planning
 tools
 create
 opportunities
 for

engaging,
educating,
and
empowering
citizens,
which
can
foster
a
more
vibrant

civil
society.

In
India,
participatory
budgeting
and
planning
has
been
initiated
in

Kerala
through
a
government
led
initiative.

Under
the
Kerala
People's
Campaign

for
 Decentralized
 Planning,
 launched
 in
 1996,
 the
 national
 government

transferred
 certain
 budget
 functions
 that
 had
 been
 controlled
 by
 state‐level

ministries
to
municipalities
(in
urban
areas)
and
village
councils
(in
rural
areas)

(see
Box
2).


Strengths

• Participatory
 budgeting
 and
 planning
 exercises
 help
 create
 local
 level

partnerships
 between
 communities,
 elected
 representatives
 and

government
officials;

• These
 tools
 help
 determine
 local
 needs
 and
 priorities
 and
 thereby

facilitates
 the
 adaptation
 of
 government
 programs
 to
 specific
 local

contexts;

• They
 builds
 platforms
 for
 citizen
 engagement
 and
 participation
 in
 state

processes;

• They
promote
transparency
and
accountability
by
fostering
an
immediate

and
 continuous
 information
 flow
 between
 the
 citizens
 and
 service

providers;



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Institutionalizing
Social
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• They
 help
 determine
 local
 needs,
 priorities
 and
 solutions
 to
 difficult

development
problems.


Weaknesses

• Participatory
budgeting
and
planning
exercises
require
the
presence
of
a

trained
 cadre
 of
 experts
 and
 officials
 which
 is
 often
 lacking
 at
 the
 local

level

• Large‐scale
application
of
the
tool
can
be
resource
and
labour
intensive



Participatory
Budgeting
in
Porto
Alegre,
Brazil

Participatory
Budgeting
was
pioneered
in
the
late
1980s
in
the
Brazilian
city
of
Porto
Alegre.

The

Municipal
 Government
 in
 Porto
 Alegre
 developed
 an
 innovative
 model
 of
 budget
 formulation


which
involved
the
active
participation
of
citizens
and
local
communities.

Under
this
model,
the

municipality
of
Porto
Alegre
has
been
divided
into
16
districts
and
each
district
acts
as
a
unit
of

distribution
 for
 public
 resources
 and
 is
 allocated
 a
 budget
 in
 proportion
 to
 its
 population.
 The

priorities
 of
 each
 of
 the
 districts
 i.e.
 in
 terms
 of
 health,
 education,
 sanitation
 etc
 are
 decided
 in

district
public
assemblies.
Notably,
the
municipal
government
is
closely
involved
in
the
process

providing
 technical
 inputs
 and
 spelling
 out
 its
 priorities.
 The
 proposals
 developed
 by
 citizens

through
 these
 assemblies
 are
 combined
 with
 technical
 assessments
 and
 are
 debated
 again
 to

determine
the
final
budget
allocations.
The
approach
has
proved
to
be
very
successful
in
terms
of

improving
the
delivery
of
key
services
.
According
to
the
World
Bank,
there
have
been
dramatic

improvements
 in
 access
 to
 water
 and
 sewage
 services
 since
 the
 launch
 of
 the
 participatory

budget
exercise.
The
Porto
Alegre
model
has
been
replicated
in
hundreds
of
municipalities
across

the
 world
 and
 is
 a
 good
 example
 of
 how
 people’s
 participation
 in
 budgeting
 and
 planning
 can

improve
accountability
in
service
delivery.

Kerala
People’s
Campaign
for
Decentralised
Planning

In
 1996,
 the
 Kerala
 Government
 launched
 
 the
 “People’s
 Campaign
 for
 Decentralisd
 Planning”

under
the
Ninth
Five
Year
Plan
with

the
objective
of
empowering
and
strengthening
local
elected

bodies
 through
 the
 devolution
 of
 administrative
 and
 financial
 powers
 Under
 the
 program,

Government
devolved
between
35‐40
%
of
the
state
plan
budget
for
preparation
of
development

projects
 formulated
 by
 the
 local
 governments
 at
 the
 village,
 block
 and
 district
 levels.
 In

conjunction
 with
 this,
 the
 People’s
 Plan
 Campaign
 was
 launched
 to
 facilitate
 socio‐political

mobilisation
and
people’s
participation
in
planning
processes.

To
facilitate
this
process
resource

persons
were
recruited
at
the
state,
district
and
local
level
to
take
a
lead
in
training
programs
and

to
spearhead
the
Plan
Campaign.

As
a
part
of
the
campaign,
local
needs
were
assessed
through

meetings
 of
 the
 Gram
 Sabhas,
 these
 were
 developed
 into
 a
 plan
 by
 the
 village
 panchayat
 in

coordination
with
Block
and
District
level
officials.
Every
village
council
was
required
to
organize

an
open
village
assembly
twice
a
year
to
give
citizens
an
opportunity
to
express
their
priorities

and
plan
projects
(IBP).The
plans
were
then
approved
at
the
district
level
by
a
District
Planning

Committee
constituted
to
assist
the
panchayats.
The
campaign
focused
heavily
on
training
local

representatives
 as
 well
 as
 rallying
 support
 for
 local
 elected
 bodies
 from
 local
 officials,
 experts

and
volunteers
to
try
and
remove
some
of
the
problems
within
the
planning
process.

Moreover,

the
 campaign
 stressed
 people’s
 participation
 in
 the
 process
 with
 the
 overall
 objective
 of

facilitating
a
democratic
culture
at
the
local
level
as
well
as
creating
a
demand
for
reforms
driven

from
below.


Implementation
and
Process
Monitoring:


Process
 monitoring
 or
 the
 regular
 tracking
 of
 progress
 under
 government

programs
and
schemes
is
a
crucial
step
in
the
accountability
chain.
Citizens
must



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Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


be
 able
 to
 monitor
 and
 track
 how
 resources
 are
 being
 spent
 and
 allocated
 in

order
to
hold
government
officials
and
service
providers
to
account.
Community

based
 monitoring
 tools
 and
 mechanisms
 engage
 citizens
 in
 the
 process
 of

tracking
and
monitoring
how
governments
spend
public
resources.
Tools
such
as

public
expenditure
tracking
surveys,
social
audits
and
satisfaction
surveys
have

been
developed
and
widely
used
to
monitor
the
implementation
of
government

programs.
 Each
 of
 these
 tools
 has
 specific
 aims,
 methods
 and
 outcomes
 as
 we

illustrate
with
the
examples
of
Public
Expenditure
Tracking
Surveys
(PETS)
and

Social
Audits.



i) Public
 Expenditure
 Tracking
 Surveys
 (PETS):
 PETS
 are
 quantitative



surveys
 that
track
 fund
 flows
to
determine
how
governments
use
public

funds
and
whether
resources
actually
reach
the
target
beneficiaries.
The

process
 involves
 securing
 information
 on
 budgets
 and
 expenditures

across
 central,
 state,
 district
 and
 local
 governments.
 The
 allocations
 at

each
level
are
compared
with
the
actual
release
of
funds
and
expenditures

Designing
 and
 implementing
 a
 PETS
 involves
 the
 following
 stages
 i)

Organising
consultations
with
key
stakeholders
to
determine
the
scope
of

the
 study;
 ii)
 Determining
 the
 sampling
 strategy;
 iii)
 Designing

questionnaires;
iv)Training
of
staff
to
carry
out
the
survey;
v)
Field
testing

of
survey
instruments;
vi)
actual
implementation
of
the
PETS
followed
by

vii)
 monitoring
 and
 evaluation,
 cleaning
 up
data
and
finally
analysis
and

dissemination
 of
 the
 data.
 Expenditure
 tracking
 surveys
 help
 in

identifying
 any
 leakages
 and
 misuse
 and
 also
 gives
 insight
 into
 cost

efficiency
 and
 decentralization
 in
 the
 management
 of
 government

programs.
 The
 practical
 use
 of
 the
 participatory
 budget
 expenditure

tracking
 is
 examined
 in
 the
 case
 study
 below
 where
 a
 civil
 society

organisation
 tracked
 down
 the
 expenditure
 for
 a
 large
 government

program,
the
Mid‐day
meal
scheme
in
Rajasthan
India
(Box
2).


Strengths:


• PETS
are
means
of
collecting
and
compiling
micro‐level
data;

• They
 serve
 as
 diagnostic
 tools
 in
 the
 absence
 of
 reliable
 financial
 and

administrative
data;



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• PETS
 help
 highlight
 and
 track
 highlighting
 the
 use
 and
 abuse
 of
 public

resources;

• They
can
help
to
identify
specific
gaps
and
problems
in
fund
allocations.

• PETS
facilitate
an
atmosphere
of
transparency
through
the
collection
and

dissemination
of
information.

• The
 surveys
 help
 strengthen
 the
 capacities
 of
 local
 communities
 to
 hold

officials
and
service
providers
accountable;

Weaknesses:


• Participatory
expenditure
tracking
surveys
require
high
quality
financial

data
which
can
often
be
difficult
to
collect
particularly
at
the
village
level;

• Technical
 expertise
 is
 required
 to
 carry
 out
 the
 surveys
 and
 process
 the

information
gathered,
such
expertise
is
often
lacking
at
local
level;

• As
it
is
a
technical
tool,
problems
can
occur
in
determining
sample
size
,

computing
input
costs
and
dealing
with
difficult
samples.

• Lack
 of
 participation
 and
 or
 uncooperative
 respondents
 can
 be
 a
 major

problem.

• PETS
 are
 time
 consuming
 and
 resource
 exercises.
 
 A
 lack
 of
 funds
 can

affect
efforts
to
monitor
the
PETS


PETS
and
the
Consumer
Unity
and
Trust
Society,
Rajasthan

The
 Consumer
 Unity
 and
 Trust
 Society
 (CUTS),
 an
 NGO
 based
 in
 Rajasthan
 conducted
 a
 PETS

study
on
the
Mid‐Day
Meal
Scheme
(MDMS)
of
the
state
government
in
one
district
of
Rajasthan.

The
study
covered
211
schools
in
14
blocks
of
one
district,
and
tracked
expenditures
incurred
in

the
program
and
verified
the
quality
of
food
provided
to
children.

As
part
of
the
exercise
budget

allocations
at
the
state
level,
the
release
of
funds
and
food
grains
across
various
tiers
i.e.
the
state,

district,
block
and
village
level
was
tracked
along
with
the
timeliness
and
quality
of
such
releases.


2,110
 students,
 2,110
 parents,
 422
 teachers
 and
 211
 cooks
 in
 the
 Chittorgarh
 district
 of

Rajasthan
 were
 interviewed
 to
 ascertain
 their
 opinion
 and
 satisfaction
 level
 about
 the

implementation
 of
 the
 MDMS.
 The
 data
 obtained
 from
 the
 tracking
 exercise
 and
 the
 survey

results
 were
 disseminated
 to
 the
 community
 and
 to
 the
 government
 officials
 at
 various
 levels.

The
process
highlighted
the
fact
that
there
were
delays
in
the
release
of
the
funds
to
the
schools,

and
 problems
 with
 the
 quality
 of
 grains
 that
 are
 transferred
 to
 the
 schools.
 As
 a
 result
 of
 the

process
 they
 could
 ensure
 timely
 transfer
 of
 funds,
 improvement
 in
 food
 grain
 quality,

improvement
 in
 basic
 infrastructure
 required
 for
 meal
 preparation
 and,
 importantly,
 could

increase
the
involvement
of
parents
in
the
management
of
the
program.



ii.
 Social
 Audits
 –
 A
 social
 audit
 is
 process
 whereby
 a
 government
 program
 is

audited
 with
 the
 active
 participation
 of
 the
 intended
 beneficiaries
 of
 the

program.
 As
 compared
 to
 other
 accountability
 tools,
 a
 social
 audit
 is
 quite



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Institutionalizing
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complex
 and
 involves
 a
 number
 of
 stages.
 Pioneered
 by
 NGO,
 Mazdoor
 Kisan

Shakti
 Sangathan
 (MKSS)
 in
 Rajasthan,
 a
 social
 audit
 involves
 obtaining

information
 on
 government
 expenditure
 specifically
 on
 budgets,
 allotments,

estimates
 of
 works,
 payments
 etc
 pertaining
 to
 the
 program.
 Once
 obtained,

official
 information
 and
 records
 on
 expenditures
 and
 entitlements
 are
 verified

against
 the
 testimonies
 of
 beneficiaries.
 
 The
 process
 culminates
 with
 the

organization
 of
 public
 hearings
 where
 the
 findings
 are
 discussed
 and

discrepancies
 are
 exposed
 in
 the
 presence
 of
 service
 providers,
 officials
 and

beneficiaries.
 This
 process
 enables
 citizens
 to
 not
 only
 obtain
 information
 on

government
 programmes
 but
 also
 use
 this
 information
 to
 “enforce”

accountability
 of
 public
 officials.
 Inspired
 by
 MKSS,
 a
 number
 of
 civil
 society

organizations
 have
 begun
 using
 social
 audits
 and
 public
 hearings
 as
 tools
 to

audit
the
performance
of
different
government
services
and
programs.

(see
Box

3).



Strengths:


• The
 strong
 focus
 on
 access
 to
 information
 within
 the
 social
 audit
 process

helps
facilitate
better
information
access,
transparency
and
accountability
at

the
local
level

• Social
 audits
 are
 useful
 as
 a
 tools
 to
 identify
 gaps
 and
 leakages
 in
 program

implementation

• The
 ‘jan
 sunwais’
 and
 public
 hearings
 provide
 local
 communities
 with
 a

platform
to
express
their
ideas,
views
and
grievances

• The
 training
 and
 capacity
 building
 of
 communities
 in
 the
 audit
 process,
 has

spill
over
effects
in
terms
of
empowering
beneficiaries
to
better
engage
with

the
service
providers

• Social
 audit
 exercises
 can
 foster
 stronger
 linkages
 between
 local

communities,
 elected
 representatives
 and
 officials
 ‐
 as
 all
 stakeholders
 are

engaged
in
the
audit
process.





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Accountability


Weaknesses:


• The
 sophisticated
 nature
 of
 this
 tool
 can
 make
 it
 difficult
 to
 apply
 in

situations
 where
 there
 is
 limited
 capacity
 on
 the
 part
 of
 local
 communities,

civil
society
organisations
and
government

• Social
 audits
 are
 resource
 and
 labour
 intensive
 tools
 –
 finding
 sufficient

funds
to
support
the
audit
exercise
can
be
a
problem

• A
 social
 audit
 is
 necessarily
 a
 lengthy
 process
 and
 is
 thus
 not
 suited
 to

contexts
and
situations
where
quick
results
are
needed

• Technical
 expertise
 and
 training
 is
 required
 to
 interpret
 information

gathered
 through
 the
 audit
 exercise
 such
 expertise
 is
 often
 lacking
 at
 local

levels.

• Community
mobilisation
is
critical
to
the
success
of
any
social
audit
exercise.

In
 the
 absence
 of
 a
 strong
 civil
 society
 presence,
 social
 audits
 may
 not
 be

feasible.



Social
Audit
by
the
Centre
for
Health
and
Social
Justice

In
 2007,
 the
 Centre
 for
 Health
 and
 Social
 Justice
 (CHSJ),
 an
 NGO
 
 set
 up
 to
 strengthen
 citizen

claims
 to
 health
 related
 fundamental
 rights,
 carried
 out
 a
 community
 feedback
 survey
 on

National
 Rural
 Health
 Mission
 (NRHM)
 in
 5
 districts
 of
 Uttar
 Pradesh
 and
 3
 districts
 in

Uttarakhand.
 The
 objective
 of
 the
 exercise
 was
 to
 determine
 whether
 in
 practice,
 citizens
 had

access
to
the
various
provisions
made
on
paper
under
the
scheme.

CHSJ
conducted
inspections

of
 existing
 health
 infrastructure
 including
 the
 Sub‐centres,
 Primary
 Health
 Centres
 (PHC’s)
 and

CHC’s
and
interviewed
local
service
providers
employed
in
these
facilities.
Interviews
were
also

held
with
the
local
community
and
specifically
beneficiaries
of
the
program
to
find
out
what
their

experiences
were.
The
interviews
addressed
crucial
issues
under
NRHM
such
as
the
functioning

of
ASHA
(Accredited
Social
Health
Activist)
volunteers,
the
facilities
available
at
the
Sub‐centres,

PHC’s
and
CHC’s
and
nature
of
services
provided
for
child
birth,
Pre
and
post
natal
care.


The
 social
 audit
 revealed
 considerable
 disparity
 in
 what
 was
 envisaged
 
 under
 the
 scheme
 and

the
actual
situation
on
the
ground.
The
functionaries
at
the
village
and
block
level
were
not
clear

about
 their
 roles
 and
 were
 not
 carrying
 out
 the
 functions
 they
 were
 supposed
 to
 do.
 The

community
did
not
have
awareness
about
what
they
are
supposed
to
get
as
the
provisions
of
the

scheme.
 These
 findings
 were
 made
 known
 to
 the
 community
 as
 well
 as
 both
 the
 district
 level

officials
and
the
state
level
officials.
The
findings
were
also
widely
disseminated
in
the
media.
The

organisation
provides
anecdotal
evidence
to
show
that
the
process
in
itself
helped
in
increasing

awareness
 levels
 of
 the
 community
 about
 NRHM.
 It
 has
 also
 implanted
 in
 them
 the
 idea
 of

interacting
with
the
government
service
providers
to
demand
for
their
rights.


Outcome
Evaluation:


Monitoring
access
to
and
quality
of
services
is
a
central
concern
for
most
social

sector
 programmes.
 Outcome
 and
 performance
 monitoring
 tools
 such
 as



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community
score
cards,
public
opinion
surveys
and
citizen
report
cards
can
help

develop
 and
 benchmark
 indicators
 against
 which
 performance
 of
 service

providers
 can
 be
 monitored
 and
 evaluated.
 
 Outcome
 evaluation
 tools
 engage

citizen
 groups
 or
 communities
 in
 the
 monitoring
 and
 evaluating
 the

implementation
 and
 performance
 of
 public
 services
 or
 projects,
 on
 the
 basis
 of

performance
indicators
and
benchmarks
they
have
selected.



i)
 Citizen
 Report
 Cards:
 The
 Citizen
 Report
 Cards
 (CRCs)
 are
 commonly
 used

tools
 for
 participatory
 impact
 evaluation.
 CRC’s
 are
 participatory
 surveys
 that

provide
 quantitative
 feedback
 to
 service
 delivery
 providers
 on
 the
 satisfaction

levels
 amongst
 citizens
 on
 the
 quality
 of
 public
 services
 in
 a
 particular

geographical
 area.
 
 The
 survey
 results
 generated
 through
 CRC’s
 are
 generally

shared
with
the
concerned
service
providers,
policymakers
and
are
also
widely

disseminated
in
the
media.
The
objective
of
CRCs
is
to
use
the
survey
results
to

exert
 pressure
 on
 the
 policymakers
 and
 service
 providers
 to
 improve
 public

service
provision.
CRC’s
involve
three
basic
steps:
i)
the
selection
of
agencies
or

sectors
for
analysis;
ii)
the
collection
and
analysis
of
data
on
users’
satisfaction

and
 iii)
 dissemination
 of
 findings.
 
 CRC’s
 were
 first
 developed
 and
 used
 by
 the

Public
Affairs
Centre
(PAC),
a
Bangalore
based
NGO,
and
have
since
been
used
by

many
other
NGOs
in
India
and
other
countries
(see
Box
4).

Strengths:


• CRC’s
are
easier
to
use
and
administer
as
compared
to
other
more
complex

tools
such
as
social
audits;

• CRC’s
 help
 enhance
 the
 accountability
 of
 the
 public
 sector
 by
 supplying

systematic
feedback
from
users
of
services
to
the
service
providers;

• They
 provide
 a
 platform
 for
 communities
 and
 CSOs
 to
 engage
 in
 dialogue

with
service
providers
to
improve
the
quality
of
public
services;

• By
engaging
with
the
media
and
policy
makers,
CRC’s
take
the
accountability

debate
to
the
next
level.

Weaknesses:


• CRC’s
 require
 a
 high
 degree
 of
 technical
 expertise
 which
 can
 be
 difficult
 to

come
by
in
a
local
context;



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Institutionalizing
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• The
process
is
resource
intensive
and
requires
considerable
funds


CRCs
and
the
Public
Affairs
Centre
in
Bangalore

Community
 Report
 Cards
 (CRCs)
 were
 first
 developed
 by
 the
 Public
 Affairs
 Centre
 (PAC),
 a

Bangalore
 based
 ngo,
 working
 to
 improve
 the
 quality
 of
 governance
 in
 India
 through
 the

strengthening
 of
 civil
 society
 institutions.
 PAC
 published
 its
 first
 report
 card
 in
 1994
 ranking

several
 municipal
 and
 other
 city‐level
 service
 providers
 in
 Bangalore
 according
 to
 public

perceptions
of
their
efficiency.

At
the
start
of
the
exercise,
focus
group
discussions
were
held
to

aid
 in
 the
 design
 of
 the
 questionnaire.
 Thereafter,
 questionnaires
 were
 designed
 to
 capture
 the

satisfaction
 levels
 of
 the
 citizens
 regarding
 the
 public
 services
 that
 mattered
 most
 to
 them

including
 specific
 aspects
 of
 their
 working
 which
 they
 were
 satisfied
 or
 dissatisfied
 with,
 the

direct
 and
 indirect
 costs
 of
 these
 services
 to
 their
 users.
 The
 surveys
 were
 then
 conducted

separately
 for
 the
 general
 and
 slum
 households.
 The
 results
 showed
 that
 the
 citizens
 were

uniformly
 dissatisfied
 with
 almost
 of
 the
 services
 being
 provided.
 Specific
 aspects
 about
 which

the
 citizens
 were
 dissatisfied
 were
 also
 brought
 out.
 The
 dissemination
 of
 information
 on
 the

Bangalore
report
card
was
undertaken
in
three
parts:
First
of
all,
the
report
was
made
available

to
the
heads
of
all
the
public
agencies
covered
by
the
study
and
to
the
Chief
Minister
and
Chief

Secretary
 of
 Karnataka.
 Secondly,
 the
 findings
 of
 the
 study
 were
 made
 known
 to
 the
 press

through
 a
 mini‐
 seminar.
 Thirdly,
 workshops
 on
 the
 report
 card
 were
 held
 in
 Bangalore

specifically
 for
 dissemination
 of
 findings
 to
 interested
 citizen
 groups
 and
 other
 non‐

governmental
 organisations.
 This
 was
 followed
 by
 similar
 meetings
 in
 New
 Delhi
 and
 Mumbai.

The
 publicity
 provided
 by
 PAC
 to
 the
 results
 from
 the
 report
 card
 contributed,
 in
 part,
 to

improvements
 in
 the
 quality
 of
 services
 provided
 by
 these
 agencies.
 Since
 then,
 PAC
 has

compiled
report
cards
for
many
other
cities
in
India
and
around
the
world.





ii)
 Participatory
 Research
 for
 Tracking
 Outcomes:
 The
 application
 of



participatory
 research
 methods
 to
 track
 outcomes
 and
 monitor
 the
 impact
 of

public
services
is
a
growing
area
of
interest
in
the
accountability
space
in
India.

Outcome
 monitoring
 involves
 the
 development
 of
 simple,
 relevant,
 quantifiable

indicators
 against
 which
 performance
 of
 different
 programs
 or
 services
 is

tracked
 on
 a
 regular
 basis.
 An
 example
 of
 an
 outcome
 monitoring
 tool
 is
 the

Learning
 Outcome
 Survey
 developed
 by
 the
 NGO
 Pratham,
 which
 assesses
 and

tracks
the
quality
of
education
in
India
against
key
indicators
(see
Box
5).
Tools

such
as
this
help
in
shifting
the
focus
of
service
delivery
evaluations
from
simply

measuring
inputs
to
measuring
outcomes.


Strengths


• Participatory
 outcome
 monitoring
 help
 focus
 attention
 on
 tracking
 the



impact
 of
 
 different
 service
 delivery
 initiatives
 as
 opposed
 to
 merely
 the

inputs;

• Such
 tools
 engage
 with
 local
 communities
 and
 civil
 society
 organisations
 to

identify
the
issues
and
problems
that
affect
them;



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Weaknesses


• Participatory
outcome
tracking
exercises
and
studies
can
be
extremely
costly

and
labour
intensive;

• Such
exercises
require
the
presence
of
civil
society
groups
and
NGOs
to
help

galvanize
local
communities
to
participate.


ASER:
The
Annual
Survey
of
Education
Report

In
2005,
Pratham,
an
NGO
working
on
elementary
education
in
India,
spearheaded
an
initiative

to
 track
 learning
 achievement
 levels
 amongst
 primary
 school
 children.
 The
 survey
 entitled

Annual
Survey
of
Education
Report
(ASER)
was
a
country‐wide
effort,
involving
the
participation

of
a
wide
variety
of
CSOs
that
collected
data
from
every
district
in
the
country.
To
assess
learning

quality,
ASER
developed
a
simple
tool
–
the
Learning
Outcome
Survey
‐
that
tests
learning
levels

of
 school
 children
 across
 key
 indicators
 of
 reading,
 comprehension
 and
 arithmetic.
 ASER
 has

been
conducted
every
year
since
2005.

Consequent
to
this
regular
tracking
of
learning
outcomes,

it
 is
 now
 possible
 to
 track
 yearly
 progress
 of
 learning
 levels
 across
 states,
 draw
 inter‐state

comparisons
and
most
importantly
hold
policy
makers
to
account
for
the
large
quantum
of
funds

currently
being
spent
on
primary
education.




























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AI
Policy
Paper
2,
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2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


Appendix
2:
Research
Methodology
of
NIAR
Study


The
 primary
 purpose
 of
 the
 empirical
 study
 was
 to
 use
 various
 instruments
 to

identify
 and
 analyze
 the
 state
 of
 social
 accountability
 in
 the
 implementation
 of

SSA
and
NRHM.


Scope:
The
study
was
conducted
in
81
villages
spread
across
27
developmental

blocks.
 These
 developmental
 blocks
 were
 spread
 across
 9
 districts
 from
 3

different
states
‐
Bihar,
Kerala
and
Uttarakhand.



The
 three
 states
 were
 chosen
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 performance
 on
 key
 indicators

pertaining
 to
 NRHM
 and
 SSA.
 Kerala
 (above
 par),
 Uttarakhand
 (intermediate)

and
 Bihar
 (below
 par)
 were
 selected.
 For
 the
 selection
 of
 districts
 within
 each

state,
indicators
like
Gross
Enrolment
Ratio,
Net
Enrolment
Ratio,
Pupil
Teacher

Ratio,
 Student
 Classroom
 Ratio,
 deprivation
 indicators
 etc
 were
 used
 .The

districts
selected
were
the
ones
which
ranked
on
top
and
bottom,
and
one
which

was
on
par
with
the
state
average
according
to
these
measures.
The
selection
of

blocks
within
each
district
was
done
similarly.
One
village
having
a
hospital
and

a
 school
 from
 each
 block
 was
 selected
 on
 the
 basis
 of
 systematic
 random

sampling.



Research
Design:
The
sampling
process
adopted
in
the
study
considered
factors

affecting
 the
 health
 and
 primary
 schooling
 system
 and
 their
 accountability
 .In

both
SSA
and
NRHM,
common
indicators
identified
were:


• Awareness
 about
 Programme
 Components:
 PRIs,
 Officials
 and



Communities

• Role
of
Committees
under
both
the
Programs

• Involvement
of
PRIs
&
Community


• Quality
Issues

• Social
Inclusion

• Transparency;
Effective
Fund
Utilization;
Accountability.

• Monitoring
role

• Grievances
&
Corruption.



 72

AI
Policy
Paper
2,
October
2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability



The
survey
interviewed
35
village
members
in
each
village
as
well
as
members

of
the
Gram
Panchayat,
along
with
officials
in
the
health
and
education
sectors;
in

case
 of
 SSA‐
 State
 project
 Director,
 District
 Project
 Officer,
 Block
 Resource

Coordinator
 &
 Cluster
 Resource
 Coordinators;
 in
 the
 case
 of
 NRHM‐
 the
 State

Mission
 Director,
 Deputy
 Chief
 Medical
 Officer/
 District
 Project
 Manager
 In‐
charge
of
Community
&
Primary
Health
Centre
.
The
following
instruments
were

used:


1.
 Community
 Score
 Card
 –
 this
 enables
 the
 community
 to
 assess
 the

responsiveness
 of
 service
 providers
 and
 also
 provides
 instant
 feedback
 on
 all

aspects
of
service
delivery.

• Citizen
report
card
for
Beneficiaries

• Citizen
report
card
for
the
Implementing
officials

• Citizen
report
card
for
the
public
representatives


2.
Participatory
Performance
Monitoring
Tools
(PPMT):
to
record
users’
perceptions

on
 quality,
 efficiency
 and
 transparency
 and
 generate
 direct
 feedback
 mechanisms

between
providers
and
users,
building
local
capacity,
and
strengthening
citizen
voice

and
community
empowerment.


3.
 Participatory
 Expenditure
 Input
 Tracking
 Format
 (PETIF)
 ‐to
 monitor
 the
 flow
 of

financial
and
physical
resources
and
identify
leakages
or
bottlenecks
in
the
system.











 73

AI
Policy
Paper
2,
October
2009































Institutionalizing
Social
Accountability


The
Accountability
Initiative



The
 Accountability
 Initiative
 is
 an
 independent
 effort
 to
 strengthen
 state

accountability
 in
 India
 by
 undertaking
 policy
 research,
 creating
 networks
 of

stakeholders,
 exploring
 new
 areas
 and
 ways
 to
 collect
 and
 disseminate

information
 on
 the
 quality
 of
 public
 services
 in
 India.
 The
 initiative’s
 work
 is

collaborative.
 It
 seeks
 to
 strengthen
 current
 accountability
 efforts
 by

government,
civil
society,
research
institutes
and
the
media.


Specifically,
the
initiative
aims
to:


• Undertake
policy
research
on
the
mechanisms
of
accountability
in
India’s

governance
institutions

• Develop
new
areas
and
innovations
to
enhance
accountability

• Support
the
creation
of
better
quality
data
on
basic
public
services

• Seek
innovative
ways
to
disseminate
this
data
to
the
public

• Encourage
 an
 informed,
 evidence‐based
 debate
 on
 accountability
 and

improved
service
delivery
outcomes
in
India


The
 Center
 for
 Policy
 Research,
 New
 Delhi
 is
 the
 institutional
 anchor
 for
 the

initiative.


Visit
us
at:
www.accountabilityindia.org


Accountable
Government:
Policy
Research
Series


Accountability
 plays
 a
 central
 role
 in
 determining
 the
 impact
 of
 services

delivered
 through
 public
 institutions.
 Therefore
 a
 crucial
 reference
 point
 for

analyzing
 the
 strengths
 and
 weaknesses
 of
 service
 delivery
 policy
 would
 be
 to

assess
how
best
it
addresses
the
accountability
question.
The
aim
of
our
Policy

Research
 Series
 is
 to
 contribute
 to
 debates
 on
 administrative
 reforms
 in
 India

from
the
perspective
of
ensuring
accountability.



 74